In a night that saw victories for an unprecedented number of Democratic candidates at all levels of government, Indian American Republican Subba Kolla Nov. 7 lost his bid to serve in Virginia’s House of Delegates.
Kolla, a realtor, was challenging incumbent John J. Bell, a Democrat who took office last year in Virginia’s 87th district. With all ballots counted, Kolla received 11,237 votes – almost 39 percent – while Bell received 18,212 votes – 62 percent.
The following day, Kolla thanked his supporters in a letter on his Web site.
“This was an amazing journey. This was 280 days that I wouldn’t trade for the world.”
“I was trying to become the first Indian American in the House of Delegates and while we came up short, I am proud of the campaign we ran, the ideas we expressed and the energy inside our emerging community. We’ve proven Indian Americans will continue to be a force politically and this isn’t the end,” said Kolla.
“We made history but couldn’t overcome a wave election that nationalized a debate about transportation, education and jobs. A sincere thank-you to my friends, family, volunteers and campaign staff for their support and hard work,” the candidate tweeted Nov. 7 night.
The New York Times noted Nov. 4 that Virginia’s 87th district seat for the House of Delegates has swung between Democrat and Republican winners, and prognosticated that the seat could be flipped to Republican Kolla.
Kolla set an unusual precedent in 2016, when he became the first Indian American to announce Virginia’s votes – for President Donald Trump – during the Republican National Convention.
On his campaign Web site, Kolla noted that he was born as the son of a cotton farmer in India. His uneducated parents nevertheless insisted that their son get a proper education: he graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from IIT Kharagpur.
“As a small business owner, I know how difficult it can be to run a small company, pay the bills and put enough money away for savings. I may be relatively new to politics, but I am not new to hard work and looking out for one’s neighbor,” he said. (See related story in India-West here.)