At least six Indian American candidates, all Democrats won key elections Tuesday in, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
Makhija, 37, won the election to fill one of two majority party seats on the governing body of Montgomery county, the third largest county in the state of Pennsylvania, on Tuesday.
Makhija, an attorney, educator, and civic leader, is the first-ever Indian-American to serve on a county’s board of commissioners and in this new role he now oversees the board of elections in Montgomery county. This is seen as crucial role ahead of the 2024 presidential and US Senate elections.
“At a time when our fundamental rights and democracy itself are on the line, voters of Montgomery county chose a candidate who will fight to protect democratic principles and values,” said Makhija in a press release after the election results were announced.
“I am incredibly grateful and humbled by the voters’ faith in our vision for a proactive approach to protecting our voting rights, keeping guns off our streets, and working to ensure that Montgomery county remains a great place to live and raise a family for all,” he added.
As commissioner, Makhija will oversee a $1 billion budget and 3,000 employees including elections, courts, district attorney’s office, public health departments, and public infrastructure.
A Pennsylvania native, he graduated from Harvard Law School and teaches election law at the University of Pennsylvania.
Kannan Srinivasan who has been elected to the Virginia state legislature as delegate for District 26 immigrated from India in 1993.
A Loudoun resident for almost 25 years, Srinivasa serves as vice chair of the Virginia State Medicaid Board, and on the Loudoun Economic Development Advisory Commission.
“My experience in both the public and private sectors will serve the residents of Loudoun and Virginians across the Commonwealth well. I will fight for our public schools, stand up for gun safety, and protect abortion rights,” he had stated while announcing his run.
He most recently worked as a director of finance at device warranty and insurance company Asurion and vice president for finance at celebrity chef José Andrés’ restaurant business, the José Andrés Group, according to Loudoun Now.
In 2019, Srinivasan ran unsuccessfully against Republican Loudoun County Treasurer Roger Zurn.
Vin Gopal, 38, Democratic state senator for New Jersey has been re-elected for a third term in the 11th Congressional District. Gopal’s triumph helped the Democratic Party flip both Assembly seats in the district.
With a commanding 58% of the vote, Gopal received a total of 32,772 votes, defeating his Republican challenger, Steve Dnistrian.
The 11th District had been a focal point of the Republican Party’s efforts in the state, with hopes that their campaign emphasizing offshore wind and LGBTQ issues in schools would weaken the Democrats.
Gopal’s campaign centered on key issues such as abortion, tax relief, and increased school funding for local districts. He emphasized the need for political discourse and decorum in government, expressing that voters were weary of political bickering and wanted unity.
Vin Gopal, a lifelong resident of Monmouth County, is not only the youngest member of the New Jersey State Senate but also the first South-Asian American to be elected to the Senate in the state’s history.
He holds a Masters in Public Administration from Rutgers University and has a track record of legislative accomplishments. During his first term in the State Senate, Gopal served as Senate Majority Conference Leader and Chairman of the Military and Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
He has successfully advocated for tax relief and fought against the institution of a shore rental tax. His campaign resonated with voters, and he attributed his success to his dedication to constituent services and bipartisanship.
Gopal’s victory was a crucial win for the Democratic Party, as they held on to a hotly contested state Senate district while flipping an Assembly seat in a Republican-heavy area.
Balvir Singh, who become the first Asian American and the first Sikh elected to a countywide office in New Jersey in 2017, retained the seat of county commissioner in Burlington, New Jersey.
A Democrat and maths teacher from Burlington Township, New Jersey, he had earlier defeated two sitting Republicans in the freeholder election in the predominantly Republican Burlington county.
Priya Tamilarasan, daughter of immigrants from south India, won the election for Gahanna city attorney in Ohio to become the first woman, the first person of color, and the first Democrat to hold this office.
Having grown up as the child of immigrants, Priya understands the importance of fighting against systemic and historical barriers, according to her campaign.
With over 12 years of experience as a practicing trial attorney, Priya has established herself as a strong and compassionate advocate, assisting individuals in overcoming adversity and finding hope during their most challenging times.
Recognizing the need for improved communication with residents, increased transparency, and the reform of the Mayor’s Court to ensure due process rights, Priya aims to establish a city administration that truly reflects the needs and values of its residents.
Suhas Subramanyam, a Democrat delegate serving the 87th district of Virginia won the Virginia state senate election for District 32.
A small business owner, he was a tech advisor in the Obama White House, where he led a task force on technology policy. He also served on Capitol Hill as a health care and veterans policy aide and also clerked for the US Senate judiciary committee.
After leaving the White House, he started his own consulting firm based in Loudoun county to advise companies and nonprofits on technology, government regulations, and economic empowerment. His mother, a doctor, immigrated to the US in 1979.