Three Indian American Candidates Emerge Victorious in State Primary Elections
GIOVANNI ALBANESE Jr., India-West Staff Reporter
The states of North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana and West Virginia May 8 held their primary elections with various Indian American and South Asian American candidates at the state level emerging victorious.
Running in Ohio’s 1st Congressional District, Aftab Pureval advanced to the general election, having no opposition in the primary.
Pureval, the 35-year-old son of an India-born father and Tibet-born mother, made a name for himself in 2016 when he pulled off a surprising upset in Hamilton County, winning the county’s clerk of courts seat.
“I’m running for Congress because we need a new direction for our country and a new generation of leadership,” Pureval said in a tweet. “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. Let’s do this together.”
The Ohio-born Pureval earned his bachelor’s degree in political science. During his time at OSU, he served as student body president. Later, Pureval earned his law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
Pureval served as an associate at White & Case after graduating from UC from 2008 through 2012, and then as a special assistant U.S. attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cincinnati for a year before spending about three years with Procter & Gamble, until he took over as the Hamilton County clerk of courts.
Pureval will challenge Republican incumbent Steve Chabot, who scored 83.2 percent of the vote in his primary in beating Samuel Ronan.
In the Ohio state House elections, Niraj Antani and Aziz Ahmad advanced to the general election in their respective races.
Antani, the Indian American Republican incumbent in the 42nd District, defeated Sarah Clark with 63 percent to the challenger’s 28 percent in winning the primary.
“Thanks to you, we won the Republican primary (May 8) for my re-election as your State Representative,” Antani said in an emailed statement to his supporters. “With your support, I will be able to continue fighting every day at the State House to ensure every Ohioan has the opportunity to achieve their American Dream.”
Antani will be challenged by Democrat Zach Dickerson in the general. Dickerson, with 57 percent of the vote, won the primary over Autumn Kern, who received 44 percent of the vote.
Ahmad, a Democrat, ran unopposed in the 7th District, and will face Republican incumbent Thomas Patton in the November election.
In Indiana, Yatish Joshi was hoping to advance in the race for the 2nd Congressional District seat.
Joshi, an Indian American business owner in South Bend, Ind., founded GTA Containers, which makes large-scale water containers for the military, in South Bend in 1988. Currently, his company employs more than 50 people in the Hoosier state.
He had said during his campaign that, “It’s time to come together and bring Northern Indiana’s citizens an effective voice for change.”
The Indian American finished third in the six-candidate Democratic race with 11.9 percent of the vote, about 35 percent behind the winner, Mel Hall, who tallied 47.1 percent. Hall will challenge Republican incumbent Jackie Walorski in the general election.
In North Carolina, while no South Asian American ran for federal office, multiple candidates were seeking spots in the general election for state level offices.
Jay Chaudhuri, a state Senate candidate and Democratic incumbent in the 15th Legislative District, won his primary, running unopposed. Chaudhuri will be challenged by Republican Alan Mitchell and Libertarian Brian Lewis, both winning in unopposed elections, in the general.
In the Democratic primary for the 38th State Senate District, Mujtaba Mohammed, with 52 percent of the vote, was victorious over incumbent Joel Ford. Mohammed will take on Republican Richard Rivette in the general.
Naveed Aziz, running as a Democrat in the 21st state Senate District, received 44 percent of the vote in the primary against Ben Clark, finishing 12 percent behind, to fail to advance.
In the state House, the 99th District Democratic primary was won by Nasif Majeed, who received 57 percent of the vote, besting Priscilla Johnson, who tallied 23 percent of the vote. Majeed will face Republican Joshua Niday in the general election.
There were no Indian American or South Asian American candidates in the various primary elections in West Virginia.
Mohammed, Majeed Claim Upsets In State Senate And House Races
By WFAE • MAY 8, 2018
Mujtaba Mohammed upset incumbent Democrat Joel Ford in Tuesday’s primary for the 38th district seat in North Carolina’s State Senate, earning 51 percent of the vote in the primary.
In the four-way field, Ford earned 5,344 votes to Mohammed’s 6,814 with all precincts reporting.
He wasn’t the only incumbent ousted in the primary. State Representative Rodney Moore finished third in a race to keep his seat in the 99th district with Nasif Majeed, a former Charlotte city councilor, earning 58 percent of the vote for the win and Priscilla Johnson coming in second with 22 percent of the vote.
Conservative Dan Bishop, who spearheaded House Bill 2, successfully fended off a challenge from moderate Republican Beth Monaghan in the North Carolina State Senate’s 39th district. He finished with more than 71 percent of the vote.
Chad Stachowicz bested Ann Harlan in the Democratic primary for the 39th district in the NC State Senate by just five votes, 5,219 to 5,214. Stachowicz will face Bishop in the general election if the results hold up.
Breaking: Democracy for America Endorses Mohammed for NC Senate
North Carolina State Senate, District 38
The fight for North Carolina State Senate District 38 is personal for Mujtaba Mohammed. The importance of creating fairness and opportunity for all is critical to him. Giving priority to those most vulnerable in the community is his life’s mission. Joel Ford’s time in the State Senate has been marred by missed votes and a maintenance of the status quo as he regularly votes in line with the Republican leadership in Raleigh.
Over the years, Mujtaba has been a tireless advocate for children and families, acquiring an intimate understanding of the challenges that everyday families encounter through his work as a former staff attorney and child advocate at the Council for Children’s Rights, and a fighter for indigent people as an Assistant Public Defender in Charlotte.
In addition to defending the rights of the underprivileged in the courtroom, and fighting to connect low-income families to the services they need every day, Mujtaba continues to demonstrate his commitment to children and families through his work on the Boards of Directors of local non-profit organizations such as Council for Children’s Rights and Larry King’s Clubhouse: Children’s Care Center.
Mujtaba is fully committed to improving public education in North Carolina, fighting income inequality, and ensuring racial basis and discrimination is eliminated from the criminal justice system. Mujtaba Mohammed is a true progressive who is ready to take a stand for the people of District 38 and deliver the change that Joel Ford has willingly prevented for years.
Breaking: Educators Endorse Mohammed for NC State Senate
Mohammed for NC State Senate is immensely proud and humbled to be endorsed by our educators at North Carolina Association of Educators and Charlotte Mecklenburg Association of Educators – CMAE.
Together we are committed to standing up for our students, educators, and our community in the North Carolina General Assembly. – Mohammed for North Carolina
- Mujtaba Mohammed, Senate District 38
- Chad Stachowitz, Senate District 39
- Christy Clark, House District 98
- Nasif Majeed, House District 99
- Becky Carney, House District 102
- Wesley Harris, House District 105
- Carla Cunningham, House District 106
Breaking: Equality NC Endorses Mohammed for NC Senate
Equality NC Action Fund PAC has endorsed Mohammed for North Carolina Senate District 38!
We are so excited to join forces to provide protections for our most vulnerable communities in North Carolina.
Black Political Caucus of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Endorses Mohammed for North Carolina Senate
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mohammed for North Carolina
Last night, the Black Political Caucus of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, one of the most influential organizations in Charlotte endorsed our campaign for North Carolina State Senate!
We are humbled by the vote of confidence and endorsement for our campaign and look forward to making the people of Charlotte and our Caucus family proud.
We started this race last year knowing it would be the most competitive primary in North Carolina. We haven’t slowed down since.
The Black Political Caucus endorsement serves as a true testament to the power of our community, the strength of our strategy and the need for true leadership in our district.
This critical endorsement from the Black Political Caucus carries forward our work towards a more just and equitable society.
Thanks again, Black Political Caucus Family.
-Mohammed for North Carolina
Charlotte’s Black Caucus is making news for who it DIDN’T endorse
New endorsements by Charlotte’s Black Political Caucus may be as notable for who wasn’t endorsed as who was.
For the first time in memory, the caucus did not endorse two incumbent lawmakers — both African-American Democrats.
In the Democratic primary in Senate District 38, the caucus backed challenger Mujtaba Mohammed over Sen. Joel Ford. And it endorsed former Charlotte City Council member Nasif Majeed in House District 99 over state Rep. Rodney Moore.
The endorsements reflect the Sunday votes of 118 caucus members. The caucus endorsement is coveted in a county where African-Americans make up a third of registered voters and 60 percent of registered Democrats. The caucus flexed its muscle last fall when almost all the candidates it endorsed in the city elections won their primaries.
On Monday, caucus Chair Arthur Griffin met with a dozen African-American ministers at Little Rock AME Zion Church to remind them of their role in turning out voters.
The endorsements, Griffin said, “will translate very well in terms of ‘souls to the polls’ (and) in terms of getting the African-American community excited.”
In the Senate primary, the caucus endorsed Mohammed, an assistant public defender and former official of the county Democratic Party. He’s a former staff attorney at the Council for Children’s Rights. In a caucus-sponsored forum, Mohammed argued that Ford has sought to “appease” the Republicans who control the N.C. Senate.
“Why is it that as Democrats we should give up our values and our principles just to make (Republicans) happy?” he said at the forum. “Why do Democrats constantly have to move to the center while they move further to the right?”
“Our message has been really resonating,” Mohammed said Monday. “Just because we got the BPC endorsement doesn’t mean we’ll be complacent.”
Ford is a moderate Democrat who occasionally has sided with Republican leaders. He was, for example, one of four Democrats who joined Senate Republicans in voting for the final legislative budget. He has said get can get more accomplished in a legislature where Republicans enjoy super-majorities. For example, he touted the fact that the budget included $25 million for Charlotte Douglas International Airport and $250,000 for a childhood education program in west Charlotte that he championed.
Ford said he was not totally surprised after the caucus failed to endorse him in the mayoral primary.
“While I am disappointed I didn’t get it, I am still encouraged by my base support and that I’ve got a ton of energy in my campaign,” he said. “I have to work harder and contact more people to make sure I get my vote out. I’m not giving up.”
In the House district, the caucus chose not to endorse Moore. He faces investigation by the state board of elections for failing to report at least 19 political action committee contributions totaling more than $10,000.
Moore could not be reached Monday.
Majeed said he believes that played a role in the endorsements.
“People are seeing that my opponent should get his house cleaned up as far as his finances are concerned,” he said.
The caucus also endorsed the following Democrats:
▪ Alma Adams in the 12th Congressional District and Dan McCready in the 9th.
▪ Garry McFadden for sheriff.
▪ Spencer Merriweather for district attorney.
▪ Pat Cotham, Trevor Fuller and Ella Scarborough for county commissioner at-large.
▪ Vilma Leake, George Dunlap and Mark Jerrell for commissioner in Districts 2,3 and 4.
▪ Ann Harlan for Senate District 39
▪ House candidates Christy Clark (District 98), Carolyn Logan (101), Becky Carney (102) and Carla Cunningham (106).
Jim Morrill, 704-358-5059; @jimmorrill
Our Democracy Is Under Attack In NC – Gerrymandering
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mohammed for North Carolina
Our Democracy Is Under Attack in North Carolina – Gerrymandering
Charlotte, NC. – The fight for families in Senate District 38 just made its way to the United States Supreme Court.
Because of the reckless Republican Agenda being implemented in Raleigh, our families must now vote in another election with unconstitutional districts.
“As a Public Interest Attorney, I couldn’t be more disappointed in our state legislature in their quest to diminish the votes of racial and political minorities in this state and particularly in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, our democracy is under attack.” Mohammed said.
While we applaud Chief Justice Roberts for accepting the Special Master’s Maps for the challenged districts, our campaign remains concerned with the partial stay that negatively impacts voters in Mecklenburg County.
Time after time, Republicans have timed their legislation and subsequent litigation to their advantage and created electoral chaos in the process.
“The General Assembly goes into session today. We can solve this problem because the solution is simple. We need independent redistricting in North Carolina.”
Mohammed continued, “Right now, politicians are drawing their lines, picking their voters, and protecting their friends. We need to create an Independent Redistricting Commission so that voters can choose their elected officials.”
We are less than a week from candidate filing and our voters deserve clarity and peace of mind.
Mohammed stated today, “I call on the General Assembly to fix what they have broken while they are in session this week.”
Mujtaba Mohammed is a Democratic candidate for North Carolina State Senate District 38. Prior to running for State Senate, Mujtaba served as a staff attorney at Council for Children’s Rights. Mujtaba previously served as Vice-Chair of the Mecklenburg County Democratic Party, and currently serves as an At-Large Representative on Charlotte’s Leading on Opportunity Council, Board of Council for Children’s Rights and, an Assistant Public Defender in Mecklenburg County. For more information, go to www.MohammedNC.com
Martin Luther King Day – Charlotte, NC
Dr. King would be proud of the coalition that we are building. The vast majority of our District and North Carolina recognize the need for equity, equality, and justice and we are working to accomplish that.
Dr. King once stated, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” As a public interest attorney who fights every day for our kids and families, I have seen the injustice firsthand. But I cannot bend that arc alone, it is going to take all of us working together to ensure equity, equality, justice, and opportunity reaches every Charlottean.
Today as we reflect Dr. King’s work, let us not forget that after every speech, Dr. King went to work. He marched, went into our schools, fought for worker’s wages and worker’s rights. He stood up against voting restrictions, unfair taxes and racist legislation and in 2018, we must do the same.
Together, we can be the change that we seek. We can be the proud Americans that Dr. King envisioned for us so many decades ago and today I am honored that I can reflect on his legacy, fight for you, and succeed with you.
Let’s get to work. #MLKDay
Mujtaba Mohammed Wants to Take the North Carolina (NC) General Assembly to School
Do it for the kids
I knew that I knew him from somewhere, I just didn’t know how far back we went.
Covering news in this city — especially on the social justice beat — I was vaguely familiar with Mujtaba Mohammed. He had sometimes moved in the same circles I have covered here over the past six years, so when he announced his candidacy for North Carolina Senate in District 38, I called him up to chat, figuring I’d at least be able to nail down exactly why he seemed so familiar to me.
When I met him at a Bojangles’ near his home in the University area on a recent morning, he quickly recalled our connection before I could even ask.
“You went to North Meck, right?” he asked, and it suddenly hit me. Mohammed was in my senior English class at North Mecklenburg High School in 2004, and as we soon found out while catching up, he was also part of a rezoning that sent us both from Vance High School to North Mecklenburg in 2002, less than a year after he moved to Charlotte from Greenville, South Carolina, where he grew up.
From there, Mohammed attended UNC Charlotte, and then the North Carolina Central University School of Law. He returned to Charlotte with his law degree in 2012 and began working for the Council for Children’s Rights before recently becoming a public defender in Mecklenburg County.
After reminiscing with a few old high school stories, I spoke with 32-year-old Mohammed about what made him decide to throw his hat in the political ring, something he never envisioned doing until this year.
Creative Loafing: Your first try at politics will be at a state level. Why not run for city council last year, as opposed to state senate?
Mujtaba Mohammed – Democratic Candidate for NC State Senate District 38 connects with the people.
Mujtaba Mohammed: Serving at the Council for Children’s Rights, serving young children, low-income families, people who have a lot of problems, I realized again and again, the North Carolina General Assembly under Republican leadership had been oftentimes the biggest impediment to success at the city level — constantly telling the city what you can do and what you cannot do. I want to help our fantastic city council. I want to help those wonderful people that were just recently elected. I want to help Mayor Vi Lyles by going up to Raleigh and literally taking our voices from the courtroom — the voices of people that are hurting and struggling — and taking those directly to Raleigh and the North Carolina General Assembly.
The NCGA under Republican leadership does not have its priorities straight. I feel like I can be an asset, understanding the intimate nature of our families, especially the working poor, people that don’t wake up every single day knowing, “How am I going to get to work today? How am I going to get to court today to see Mr. Mohammed? I haven’t been able to make my office meetings because I’m trying to figure out how to pay my bills. How do I put food on the table. How do I take care of my kids.” They have very little help. I feel like the general assembly could step in instead of telling the counties, “Listen, we’re not going to do this but we want you to do this.” How many times are the city and county going to have to step in and do their job for them?
You speak of Republican leadership, but if you win, you will be unseating a Democrat, Joel Ford. What do you think you can bring to the table that he does not?
In my conversations with folks in the district, I hear that my opponent is out of touch. He’s been absent, and he’s been supporting a reckless agenda. To be a Democrat and to be supporting Republican values, supporting a Republican budget, we need a state senator that’s going to fight for a budget that reflects our values in Charlotte — that reflects Democratic values, that represents the values of people in District 38, and that hasn’t been happening.
I have clients that are facing eviction. This recent budget took money away from Legal Aid [of North Carolina] to serve people who are facing eviction. Clients tell me, “Mr. Mohammed, I can’t get help at Legal Aid, because they’ve had to layoff attorneys.” So how can you come in here and say you’re running for mayor of Charlotte and you care about affordable housing, and you vote for things like that? We’re balancing budgets on the backs of poor people, expanding our sales tax, while the rich continue to be able to support their jets and their yachts and things like that. We’ve got to invest in our families. That’s what’s going to help public safety. That’s what’s going to help create a global economy. And this budget doesn’t reflect those values, and I’m deeply disappointed.
What type of work did you do with CCR, and what did that experience teach you?
When I was with the Council for Children’s Rights, I was representing young children coming through the school-to-prison pipeline, helping get them connected to services, supporting them, protecting their constitutional rights and supporting their families, because a lot of these families need help.
The wonderful thing is that, in Charlotte and all across North Carolina, we have one family court room, one judge, usually the same defense attorney and the same prosecutors, so we get to really know the families. That’s when good preventative stuff happens. That’s why raising the age [at which juveniles can be tried as adults] was so important; keeping young people in the juvenile justice system instead of sending them to the adult criminal justice system. We can give them the support that they don’t have there.
Is that work with youth what made you so passionate about educational issues?
Working with CCR, advocating for children, being in the criminal justice system as a public defender, I see stuff when things are too late. I see kids when they’re already in the criminal justice system, when they already have criminal records, and it becomes a public safety issue. If we invest in our young people from the beginning, if we support our families, it’s going to save us money in the long run, and it’s going to make us a more progressive society. It’s going to prepare young people for a global economy and build a strong work force.
Did that inspire your passion for expanding access to early childhood education?
My wife and I have a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old, and we have to make these difficult decisions every day: Are we going to work or have childcare? My wife is a dental hygienist. I’m a public defender. So she’s staying at home right now raising our younger ones, because we can’t afford to send two boys to an early childhood education program, and that’s my thing. Our families shouldn’t have to make those choices.
When are we going to start early and start strong, and stop putting a price tag on kids, on children, and telling our children they’re not worth it? “We’re not investing in you, but we’re going to build prisons.” When parents see test scores and tings, they see room for improvement. Unfortunately, this legislature sees room to fill jail cells
As a lawyer looking to get into politics, and with a passion for early childhood education, it’s not hard to see the similarities between you and [N.C. Sen.] Jeff Jackson. Is that someone you already have a relationship with?
Yes. A lot of folks say they see a lot of similarities between Jeff Jackson and I. He’s a good friend. He’s been doing fantastic work in our community. He’s a former prosecutor himself, so he’s been in the criminal justice system. He understands. I just had a more direct approach, and that’s why I’m so passionate about this. Prosecutors, they’re working with law enforcement, they’re working with other district attorneys. Public defenders, they’re working with the people every single day; people that have lots of problems. You see their problems every single day.
I see a lot eye to eye with Senator Jackson. He’s been that consistent, progressive, bold voice. I want to help people like Senator Jackson. I want to help folks like [N.C. Rep.] Chaz Beasley in the general assembly, Rep. [John] Autry, Senator Joyce Waddell, these people, they’ve been supporting Democratic values and principles. Unfortunately, again, look at our opponent’s voting record. Voting 70 to 80 percent of the time with Republicans. It’s all public information, you just have to look it up.
Any other issues you have your sights set on should you win the state senate seat?
Bringing back the earned income tax credit. This Republican budget doubled the standard reduction, but they brought it up to $20,000 for families. I know families in Charlotte that don’t even make that, it’s a zero benefit for them. So if we brought back the earned income tax credit, that would be money in the pockets of our families. If we brought back tax free weekend, imagine how much that would help our teachers who are spending their own money for classroom supplies because this legislature has decided we’re not going to prioritize that. Bringing back the childcare tax credit so parents can get that support to put their kids in early childhood education programs.
Those are things that this Republican legislature has gotten rid of; they’ve gotten rid of the childcare tax credit, they’ve gotten rid of the earned income tax credit. These are issues that could support middle class families along with the working poor that we got rid of. Instead, we decided we’re going to bring down our tax rates for corporations. We’re going to cut tax rates for the wealthy. These are all things that our opponent voted for.
Also, bringing back film credits to Charlotte. Charlotte used to make movies and TV shows. We used to make almost $20 million and 20,000 jobs in this state. These are simple ways to support our economy. It makes no sense to me why we got rid of that.
A new role for you is in the Leading On Opportunity Council in Charlotte. What do you hope to accomplish there?
My biggest priority right now is early childhood education there as well. The Leading On Opportunity Council is really just about amplifying the message of the Opportunity Task Force. We have great resources in Charlotte, great community service programs, great nonprofit programs, but the problem is people don’t know about them. So what I see as my job is amplifying that message, supporting early childhood education, college and career readiness, bringing together factors like social capital and recognizing that segregation is an issue. Just amplifying the message, making sure that all families are moving up in economic mobility, getting an opportunity.
A common frustration here in Charlotte is that, since the infamous report placing Charlotte last in economic mobility, followed by the Charlotte Uprising, there has been so much discussion about what needs to be done, without any real action. What can this council due to take a more active approach, beyond just amplifying voices?
We’ve done active things already. The council has made this huge push for early childhood education, which the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners is about to take up in the next budget. They’re looking at, is it going to be a sliding scale project, or is it going to be universal pre-K? We have almost 12,000 4-year-olds in Charlotte who would be fantastically served if we did stuff like that. We’ve also helped expand affordable housing. Leading on Opportunity is doing a good job of shepherding the work, reaching out to folks, connecting people to resources, and the work’s going to continue.
Charlotte attorney Mujtaba Mohammed will enter NC Senate race against Joel Ford
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Democratic state Sen. Joel Ford will have a primary challenger.
Attorney Mujtaba Mohammad announced Wednesday he is entering the race for District 38’s Senate seat.
Mohammad’s priorities include universal pre-kindergarten, criminal justice reform and education.
Last year incumbent Ford finished third in the democratic primary for Charlotte mayor.
Mohammad cites Ford’s voting record and relationship with Republicans as two reasons he is entering the race.
“He’s out of touch and he’s absent and I believe my Senate district, District 38 at least deserves a state senator who is going to show up, who is not going to support a reckless republican agenda,” Mohammad said. “I want to give our governor the veto, I want to give my fellow Democrats in Raleigh a reliable voice that will be dedicated to fighting for District 38.”
In addition to Mohammad, sources told Channel 9 City Councilmember LaWana Mayfield is considering a run against Ford.
Ford declined to comment.
Source: WSOCTV Joe Bruno