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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.


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