Indian American candidates across the country were vying to claim council, school board and other local seats in their respective cities, winning some and losing others.
Among the winners during the Nov. 7 general election were Vijay Kapoor in Asheville, N.C.; Seema Singh Perez in Knoxville, Tenn.; Dimple Ajmera in Charlotte, N.C.; Satwinder Kaur and Maya Vengadasalam in Kent, Wash.; Tanika Padhye in Redmond, Wash.; and Sam Joshi and Falguni Patel in Edison, N.J.
Kapoor claimed a seat on the Asheville City Council, earning the most votes of the six candidates with 23 percent of the vote — 10,491 votes. The top three vote-getters, including Sheneika Smith (20 percent) and Gwen Wisler (18 percent), were named to the council.
In Charlotte, the 31-year-old Ajmera, a Democrat who was appointed to the council to replace John Autry earlier in the year, finished fourth in the council election while earning a seat. Her tally of 59,733 votes was over 12,000 more than the fifth-place John Powell, a Republican, who was on the outside looking in. In total, she received 14.5 percent of the vote, less than 3 percent behind top vote-getter Julie Eiselt. Democrats accounted for all four at-large council seats.
In Washington state, a plethora of Indian Americans were looking to claim seats. In the Kent City Council race, Kaur earned a seat with her 54.8 to 45.2 percent (5,846 votes to 4,814) over Paul Addis for position No. 2. Vengadasalam won the Kent School Board seat, running unopposed as the incumbent. Padhye was the winner in Redmond’s No. 4 City Council seat, winning convincingly 61 percent to 39 percent over Eugene Zakhareyev.
Perez was the winner in the Knoxville Council race, become the first Indian American to hold a seat on the council. Her 6,105 votes, accounting for 57.7 percent, was nearly 1,500 more votes than James Edward Corcoran’s 4,470 (42.3 percent) for the city’s District 3 seat.
In New Jersey, specifically Edison, Joshi won one of the three four-year council seats available. His 11,827 was second among the six candidates, behind vote leader Robert Diehl (12,382) and ahead of the other winner Alvaro Gomez (11,717). All three winners are Democrats; all three losers are Republicans.
Patel was among the three winners for the Edison School Board. Like Joshi, Patel finished sandwiched-in between the other winners with 6,115 votes, behind Jerry Shi’s 6,259 and Beth Moroney’s 5,991.
Others who came up short included Hari Pillai in the Cambridge, Mass., City Council race; Preeti Shridhar in Seattle for the Port of Seattle Commissioner seat; Rituja Indapure in the Sammamish, Wash., City Council race; Rekha Nandwani in Jersey City, N.J., for a City Council seat; Bangladeshi Mohammad Rahman in the New York City Council race; and Krisha Chachra in the Blacksburg, Va., Council race.