Ohio State Rep. Niraj Antani, only Indian-American in state legislature, wins Republican Senate primary

Ohio state Senate candidate Niraj Antani campaigning photo posted on Twitter April 27, 2020, last day of campaigning. (Photo Twitter)

State Representative Niraj Antani of Miamisburg, Ohio, who represents District 42, won the April 28, 2020, Republican primary for the State’s Senate District 6 seat.

He is the only Indian-American in the State House and will be the first from the community in the state Senate if he wins come Nov. 3. Antani is the second Indian-American to be in the State House after Jay Goyal who was a Democrat in the legislature from 2009 to 2012.

Rep. Antani won with an overwhelming 64.77 percent of the vote against two other candidates according to unofficial results on the Secretary of State’s website(https://liveresults.ohiosos.gov/). That makes him officially the GOP’s nominee in November.

He will be facing off  in the general elections against Democrat Mark Fogel, a former Air Force officer who got 82.3 percent of the Democratic primary vote.

The Indian-American has a high probability of winning as the seat has been in Republican hands since 1985.

In a statement Antani released after his victory, he was glad with the victory but that it is not a time for celebrations. “During this economic and health crisis, as Ohioans have lost their lives, front-line healthcare workers like doctors face danger in treating patients, small businesses struggle to survive, and nearly one million have lost their job, I redouble my efforts in the Statehouse to help every Ohioan the best I can,” Antani said.

“I’m grateful for the continued support of the Indian-American,” Antani told News India Times.  “I am proud to say that if elected I’ll be the first Indian-American State Senator in Ohio history,” he added.

The Dayton Daily News called the Republican primary for the 6th District seat “one of the most competitive races” on the ballot in Montgomery County.  The candidate who came closest to Antani, a GOP activist, Rachel Selby, received less than 25 percent of the vote despite being endorsed by the previous incumbent, State Sen. Peggy Lehner.

But Antani was endorsed by the Ohio Republican Party, as well as the Governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine, and the Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, the Daily Dayton noted.

Rep. Antani currently serves at the youngest Indian-American elected official in the United States, his press release says.

He and his team of volunteer switched from door-to-door campaigning to phone calls, and Antani said he would continue that “until it is safe to go door to door once again.”

In an April 27, 2020 post on Twitter, Antani said, “We raised over a quarter of a million dollars,” adding, “The past two months of health and economic crisis have reminded me why I’m in this race: each Ohioan should have an opportunity to achieve their American Dream, health-wise, economically, and in every sense.” By the last day of campaigning for the primary, Antani had contacted 85,743 voters, he said.

The April 28 primaries in Ohio also featured another Indian-American, Kashi Adhikari, who ran an lost his bid as a Democrat for the State House of Representatives from District 22. He received nearly 21 percent of the vote to his opponent David Leland’s 79.41 percent.






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