WASHINGTON: Led by the high profile Republican Bobby Jindal, as many as nine Indian Americans won in the November 7th US elections to national, state and local offices, notching up one of their best performances to date. There were 23 Indian Americans running for various offices in the elections.
The incumbent Jindal won the race to the US Congress from the 1st District in Louisiana with a thumping majority of 87.9 percent (71,493), with his three opponents together garnering less than 11,000 votes.
He is only the second person of Indian origin to enter the US Congress after Dilip Singh Saund won more than 50 years back from California.
With their victories, Indian Americans now have representation in six state legislatures namely, New Jersey, Maryland, Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas and Ohio, in addition to the US Congress through Representative Jindal.
Among the winners are entrenched Indian American legislators Kumar Barve in Maryland, Satveer Chaudhary in Minnesota and Swati Dandekar in Iowa, all of whom notched up comfortable victories.
In South Carolina, incumbent Republican Nikki Randhawa ran unopposed from District 52 for a seat in the State House.
Among the new entrants are Jay Goyal, 26, Democrat, who defeated Phillip Holloway in the 73rd District to win a seat in the Ohio state House. He polled 63 percent of the vote to his rival's 36 percent.
In the 87th district in Kansas, Democrat Raj Goyle, 31, beat three-term Representative Bonnie Huy, polling 56 percent against Huy's 44 percent.
In New Hampshire, Republican Saghir Tahir made it to the State House from District 50 - one of six Republicans from the Manchester area who managed to win back their seats in a state that voted overwhelmingly Democrat.
Another winner was Rajan Zed, who ran unopposed for the General Improvement District Trustee of Verdi TV District.
Among the Indian Americans who were re-elected, Minnesota State Senator Chaudhary, a Democrat and the first Asian American to be elected to the Minnesota legislature, retained his District 50 seat comfortably, winning 64 percent of the votes.
An attorney with his roots in Haryana, Chaudhary's constituency is largely white with hardly any Indian American constituents.
In Iowa, State Representative Dandekar, won for the third time from District 36 in Marion, beating her Republican rival Nick Wagner by 55 percent to 45.
The Maharashtra-born Dandekar, who arrived in the US in 1972 soon after her marriage, received considerable support from the Indian American community.
Maryland House of Delegates Majority Leader Kumar Barve, often referred to as the Dean of Indian American Democrats and the longest-serving US legislature of Indian origin, also won comfortably from District 17, bagging 24 percent of the vote, the third-highest of three top Democratic vote-getters whose total vote was around 75 percent.
Unsuccessfully emulating Representative Jindal's run for federal office were three Indian Americans, all of whom performed creditably.
Democrat Ajinderpal Singh Sekhon won 32 percent of the vote in California's District 2, losing to long-time incumbent Republican Wally Herger's 64.2 percent.
Republican Raj Bhakta, contesting from Pennsylvania's District 13, did better, especially given the anti-Republican trend, securing 34 percent of vote against Democratic incumbent Allyson Schwartz, who polled 66 percent.