The Hindu American Foundation congratulates all twenty Hindu Americans who ran for federal and state elected office in the 2020 US elections. This year saw a historic number of Hindu Americans run for office and win elections. Eleven Hindu Americans ran for the US House and US Senate, and nine ran for state office across the country, according to HAF’s tally.
In Congress, three of the four Hindu American Representatives will be returning to Washington, DC next year. Representatives Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), Ro Khanna (D-CA), and Pramilla Jayapal (D-WA) retained their seats with an overwhelming majority. Ro Khanna fended off a challenge from fellow Hindu American and businessman Republican Ritesh Tandon 71%-29%.
Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) decided not to seek reelection following her campaign for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination. Although unsuccessful, Gabbard, who made history as the first Hindu elected to Congress, became the first Hindu American to run for president.
“We thank Rep. Gabbard for all her hard work on behalf of her constituents over the years, from strengthening the US-India partnership to being a leader in the fight against climate change, and for being a voice for all Hindu Americans,” stated HAF Executive Director Suhag Shukla, Esq. “While she will be greatly missed in the halls of Congress, her candidacy was also an inspiration for millions of young Hindu Americans,” Shukla said.
HAF also congratulates the six Hindu American federal candidates, one for US Senate, five for US House of Representatives, whose exciting campaigns unfortunately came up short in the 2020 elections. In New Jersey, pharmacist and attorney Dr. Rik Mehta lost his challenge to Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) 41%-57%.
In Arizona’s 6th Congressional District, emergency physician Hiral Tipernini narrowly lost her challenge against House India Caucus member Rep. Dave Schweikert (R-AZ) 48%-52%. In the open seat race to replace retiring Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) in Texas’ 22nd Congressional District, former foreign service officer Democrat Sri Preston Kulkarni lost to Fort Bend County Sheriff Republican Troy Nehls 46%-52%.
In California’s 11th Congressional District, Republican first time candidate Nisha Sharma lost her challenge to Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) in the deep blue seat 26%-74%. A little further up the California coast, Saratoga City Councilman Rishi Kumar (D) lost his challenge in District 18 to House India Caucus member Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) 37%-63%.
In the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington DC, Republican Manga Anantatmula lost her challenge to Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) in the deep blue 11th Congressional District 28%-72%. In Tennessee’s deep red 7th Congressional District, Democrat Kiran Sreepada lost his challenge to Rep. Mark Green (R-TN) 27%-71%.
At the state level, we witnessed eight Hindu Americans run for office in 2020. Seven won their races, one lost, and five were seeking reelection or election to higher office.
On the West Coast, California State Assemblymember for District 27 Ash Kalra (D-CA) easily won his reelection.
In the Midwest, current Ohio State Rep. Niraj Antani (R-OH) was promoted, winning his bid for State Senate District 6. Meanwhile in Michigan, two Hindu Americans were on the ballot for State House. State Rep. Padma Kuppa (D-MI) easily won her reelection in District 41 and will be joined in the State House next year by scientist and business owner Dr. Shri Thanedar who won his first election in District 3. In 2018 Kuppa became the first Hindu American serving in the Michigan legislature, and Antani now became the first Hindu American elected to both Ohio’s State House and Senate.
In the northeast, we saw a former Vermont State Rep. Kesha Ram (D-VT) also win election to her state’s higher chamber, becoming the first Hindu American in both the Vermont State House and Senate. In New York, first time candidate and attorney Jenifer Rajkumar (D-NY) won her election for State Assembly District 38, becoming the first Hindu American elected to the New York state legislature.
In the South, two Hindu Americans were on the ballot in North Carolina and one in Kentucky. While State Sen. Ronnie Chatterji (D-NC) lost his race for North Carolina State Treasurer, fellow State Sen. Jay Chaudhuri (D-NC), the first Hindu American elected to the North Carolina state legislature, won his reelection. Interestingly, the Democratic primary for the statewide North Carolina Treasurer seat saw two Hindu American candidates. In the end, Chatterji narrowly defeated Charlotte City Councilwoman Dimple Ajmera, the first Hindu American on the Charlotte City council. In neighboring Kentucky, District 40 State Rep. Nima Kulkarni (D-KY), the first Hindu American in the Kentucky state legislature, won her reelection.
In addition to several federal and state elected officials, dozens of Hindu Americans have been elected to municipal and county seats in several US states.
“We congratulate Congressmen Krishnamoorthi and Khanna and all of the Hindu American elected officials serving in America’s state capitals. We also congratulate all the candidates and those seeking higher office this year. Win or lose, the Hindu American community is proud of you,” stated HAF Managing Director Samir Kalra, Esq. “This election cycle was historic on many levels and we expect to see more Hindu American candidates in the years ahead,” stated Kalra.
Know of other Hindu American candidates? Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.