The Indian-American community showed an extraordinary level of confidence in its ability to carve space for itself at the national table during the August 28 primaries when it fielded 4 candidates in Arizona and 6 in Florida at the local, state and national levels.
Several Indian-American candidates have moved on to the November elections from these two state primaries, most of them Democrats.
In Arizona it was all about victories for both Democratic and Republican Indian-Americans.
Dr. Hiral Tipirneni, (D) for the U.S. Congress, from District 8. One of the most-watched races where the Republicans have focused massive resources.
“We were pleased to see Dr. Hiral Tipirneni, who we endorsed in February, easily win the Democratic nomination in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District,” Gautam Raghavan, spokesperson for the Indian-American Impact Fund, told News India Times. “A recent poll put Hiral within nine points of winning the seat, and with such enthusiastic Democratic voters, she has a pathway to victory,” Raghavan predicted about the Nov. 6 elections.
Anita Malik, (D) for the U.S. Congress from District 6 (tight race by Wednesday afternoon, Malik had secured 40.6 percent to Heather Ross’ 39.6, and Garrick McFadden’s 19.9. Malik was just 383 votes ahead of Ross.
“I support initiatives that directly benefit our nation’s families through investments in education, health care and infrastructure so that we can modernize our nation’s economy. We must make smart investments to fuel the economy. This includes infrastructure, higher education, a livable wage, family-friendly workplaces and healthcare,” Malik said in a Ballotpedia candidate survey. Malik faces a tough fight against incumbent Republican Congressman David Schweikert.
Dr. Amish Shah, (D) for the Arizona State House of Representatives from District 24, made a fantastic showing, winning in a 6-way primary race, quite a feat.
Anthony Sizer (R) for the Arizona State House of Representatives from District 2, is unopposed. He is one of two candidates which represent this district. His co-Republican John ‘Chris’ Ackerley will face off against Democratic incumbents Rosanna Gabaldon and Daniel Hernandez Jr. on Nov. 6. Sizer uses key words to describe himself on his website — “Christian, Approachable, Eagle Scout, Engineer, DoD Contractor, NOT a Career Politician” and says he is driven by “strong ethics, integrity and accountability.”
His story is compelling. An orphan in Bangalore where “he belonged to no cast, with no opportunity afforded to him as afforded to him here in the United States of America.” Sizer was adopted in 1985 by Dean and Kathleen Sizer of Granger, Washington state. He says he is a Republican because he experienced and saw the effects of Democratic policies on his father in the state of Washington.
“It looks like Arizona may be the site of not one, but two electoral upsets,” Raghavan said, noting how close Amit Shah.
Florida was a mixed bag in August 28 primaries.
Sanjay Patel, (D) was unopposed in the primaries and is pitted against Bill Posey, incumbent Republican from Congressional District 8 in Florida. Posey was also unopposed. Patel describes himself as an “activist, changemaker, and project manager” who has nearly two decades of diverse experience in the government, corporate and nonprofit sectors. A graduate of UCLA with a degree in Economics, he worked in technology, strategy and consulting roles at Deloitte, Genentech and the Santa Clara County Social Services Agency. He then launched a small consulting business in San Francisco, and subsequently founded a nonprofit that used social media to raise funds for changemakers across the globe. He has lived in Brevard for the last ten years, with his wife Stacey whose family are Floridians of several generation.
Dushyant Gosai, (D) who ran for the U.S. House from Florida’s 3rd Congressional District, lost his primary bid Aug. 28. An educator by profession, Gosai lost his bid againt two other Democrats, trailing with just 7.3 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary.
Seeta Durjan Begui, (D), is unopposed in her race for the Florida House of Representatives from District 52. A nurse by profesion, Durjan Begui has also been a radio show host who says “This world needs more compassion, love and understanding,” and as a nurse she brings all that to the table. No endorsements are listed on her website. And she is up against incumbent Republican Thad Altman, with little chance of making any headway.
Aakash Patel, (R) ran for the Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners seat from District 7. In a tough fight that was quite high profile, Patel was defeated by his Republican opponent Todd Marks (67.6 percent to 32.4 percent). Marks goes on to fight against Democrat Kimberly Oberman and Green Party candidate Kim O’Connor.
Amol Jethwani (D), made a bid for the Florida House of Representatives from District 21. He fared quite well garnering 41.6 percent of the vote, but was outdone by Jason Haeseler (58.4 percent) by a wide margin. Haeseler will be running against incumbent Republican Chuck Clemons.
Kubs Lalchandani, (D), an attorney, ran for the Florida House of Representatives from District 113. The graduate of Cornell School of Hotel Administration with a law degree from Cornell Law School, has years of experience also working in the non-profit field. In a three-way Democratic primary, Lalchandani’s background is suited to a career in politics and he could be on horizon in the future. However, in this race, he secured 23.7 percent of the vote, where the winner Michael Grieco got 41 percent, and Deede Weithorn 35.3 percent.
“Yesterday was a big day for Indian American candidates,” Raghavan said, noting the numerous candidates in the running in Arizona and Florida. “We’re continuing to monitor these races but we should all be incredibly impressed and proud of these candidates for running strong, smart campaigns,” Raghavan added.