Indian American Democrat Farrah Khan surfed the ‘Blue Wave’ cresting through the nation, potentially becoming California’s first Muslim city councilwoman Nov. 6.
With 100 percent of ballots counted, the California Secretary of State’s Office reported that Khan was in the second spot for one of two open seats with 11, 913 votes – 14.5 percent. She is ahead of contender Carrie O’Malley by less than 400 votes. Anthony Kuo captured 12,121 votes – just 217 more than Khan – to potentially capture the other seat from a crowded race involving a dozen candidates.
But Aarti Kaushal Chauhan, Khan’s campaign manager, told India-West it was still too early to pop the celebratory corks. The Orange County Registrar of Voters said it still has 418,600 ballots left to count, and “tens of thousands” more still in the mail. Chauhan said the Registrar of Voters has indicated it will declare the winners in the Irvine City Council race on Nov. 9, or it may take additional time. “Farrah doesn’t want to jinx anything,” she said, noting that the candidate is laying low until the race is called.
“We need real, honest leadership. I know I'm tired of the political games and lies,” Khan stated on her Facebook page, days ahead of the election.
Elsewhere in the ‘Orange is the New Blue’ region in Southern California, Harry Sidhu was certified Anaheim, Calif.’s new mayor. Sidhu held a wide margin – with almost 40 percent of the vote – in a race that drew eight candidates.
“I want to thank my family, my supporters, and, most importantly, the Anaheim community for taking the time to cast your vote for me and the vision we share together for Anaheim’s future. I am honored and thrilled to lead the charge in unifying our city once again,” said Sidhu in his victory speech.
“The residents of Anaheim know that it’s time to move past the divisiveness and get back to working with all residents, businesses, and workforce that make Anaheim what it is today. We must return to the understanding that we only succeed when we all succeed. For Anaheim to thrive, we must work together and that starts anew today,” he said.
The National Sikh Campaign sent out a congratulatory message. “We would like to congratulate Harry Singh Sidhu on becoming the next Mayor of Anaheim, of the largest cities in California,” said the organization in a Nov. 8 press statement.
“It is incredibly exciting to see Mr. Sidhu, a Sikh, become Mayor of such a large and diverse city. I look forward to engaging with him on issues that impact Sikhs in Anaheim, and the larger Orange County region,” said Jas Sajjan, Director of Public Policy for the National Sikh Campaign.
Once sworn in, Sidhu will be one of the few Indian American Sikh mayors in the United States, which includes Mayor Ravinder Singh Bhalla of Hoboken, New Jersey; and Mayor Preet Didbal of Yuba City, Calif.
The organization encouraged young people to seek public service as a career.
In Northern California, multiple candidates were running statewide, including Suraj Viswanathan, Anu Natarajan, Chandu Siramdas and Aparna Madireddi, Rashi Kesarwani, and Daraius Sorabji among others.
Kesarwani, running for a seat on the Berkeley City Council, overwhelmingly won her race with 46 percent of the vote, besting her three opponents. Indian American community activist Anirvan Chatterjee tweeted about Kesarwani’s success, noting there were now two Asian Americans on the Berkeley City Council. “Berkeley is a 20 percent Asian/Pacific Islander city, and after four decades, the council finally looks like our city,” he said.
Viswanathan was running for a council seat in Milpitas. At time of press, the Indian American candidate was behind by more than 10 points. Sorabji, running for a seat on the Campbell city council, also lost his race.
Natarajan, a former vice mayor and, briefly, mayor of Fremont, was looking to be elected to the Bay Area Rapid Transit board for District 6. The candidate wasn’t able to claim the seat, receiving 42.51 percent of the vote, about 15 points behind Liz Ames who received 56.61 percent.
Siramdas was running for Fremont City Council’s District 1 seat. In a three-candidate race, Siramdas finished third with 25.81 percent of the vote. Teresa Keng won the seat with 45.65 percent.
Madireddi was looking to win a seat in San Ramon’s City Council, as well as Sridhar Verose. Two candidates were elected – David Hudson and Sabina Zafar – while Madireddi and Verose were on the outside looking in.
Also running in San Ramon was Sanat Sethy, who was seeking the mayoral seat. Incumbent Bill Clarkson outpaced the challenger by a 4-to-1 margin.
In Utah, Sim Gill was hoping to be re-elected as the Salt Lake County district attorney. Gill, a Democrat, was challenged by Republican Nathan Evershed. At time of press, Gill led by more than 14 points over Evershed – 57.17 percent to 42.83 percent. Gill received 165,418 votes to 123,911.
Juli Mathew was running for the Fort Bend, Texas court at law number 3 seat. Mathew, a Democrat, received 54.08 percent of the vote, about 9 points ahead of Republican Amy Mitchell, who tallied 46.71 percent of the vote.
In Morris County, New Jersey, Shalini Gagliardi was hoping to unseat incumbent Amm Grossi for the county clerk position. Grossi prevailed, though the final tally was not immediately available. Rupande Mehta, who was running for Morris County freeholder, also lost her race.
Zahra Suratwala was seeking to win one of two seats for the DuPage County board in Illinois. The Indian American Democrat finished last in the four-candidate race with 17,485 votes. Sam Tornatore and Ashley Selmon won the two seats.
In Limestone County, Alabama, Hanu Karlapalem was vying for the District 3 county commission seat. He received 40.63 percent of the vote, falling by nearly 20 points to Republican Jason Black, who received 59.26 percent.
Incumbent Sonya Williams overwhelmingly defeated Arun Puracken in the general election for Prince George's County, Maryland Board of Education District 9. Puracken received 33 percent of the vote.