Indian American businessman Vin Gopal emerged victorious election night Nov. 7, wresting away New Jersey’s 11th district state Senate seat from long-time Republican incumbent Jennifer Beck.
Beck had served in the seat for 11 years but lost it in what appeared to be a backlash against the Trump administration, as Democratic candidates throughout the country claimed victory.
Democrat Gopal, 31, stepped down from his role as chairman of the Monmouth County, New Jersey Democratic Party to run for the statewide office. He is the owner of Community Magazine NJ, which he founded in 2008, and the nonprofit Direct Development LLC, which he founded in 2010 to help local charities and individuals in need.
At the start of his race, Gopal said he was running to tackle New Jersey’s “grave fiscal problems.”
“As a small business owner, I know what it’s like to build a business from the ground up and to create jobs — to go without taking a paycheck in order to make payroll,” he said in a Jan. 11 statement announcing his candidacy.
During the bitterly-contested race, Gopal bashed Beck for her allegiance to the embattled Gov. Chris Christie, who will leave office in January with an extremely low approval rating.
“Beck even went so far as to vote against legislation that she herself authored after the governor expressed his opposition to it,” Gopal noted. “That bill was actually a good one — it would have protected our children and families by keeping guns out of the wrong hands. But rather than stand up for what was right for Monmouth County, Beck chose her political interests over her constituents and voted against her own bill.”
“Monmouth County needs a senator who will battle with the insiders in Trenton, not just show up and act like a puppet,” Gopal stressed, noting the need to fight for lower property taxes, eliminating red tape imposed on small businesses, and funding women’s healthcare policies.
“As your senator, I will spend every day fighting against Trenton insiders and fighting for the needs of working people,” he added. “That is my pledge to the residents of Monmouth County."
“This is an exciting day,” Gopal told local news media after his victory. "We're not going to let Monmouth County down.”
Gopal received the endorsement of Garden State Equality, an LGBTQ organization, as well as the New Jersey Firefighters Association. He was also endorsed by Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey.