A handful of Indian American and South Asian American candidates in New York were seeking various state-level party nominations in the Sept. 13 primary election.

In the state Senate, Kevin Thomas, Jeremy Cooney and Pramilla Malick – all Democrats – were seeking their party’s nomination.

Malick had previously been hoping to bypass the primary in the 42nd District by creating a “Stop Corruption Party” line on the general election ballot. That petition was rejected, forcing her to run in the Democratic primary against Jennifer Metzger.

Unfortunately for Malick, the primary didn’t go her way. The candidate received 6,336 votes for 39.1 percent of the vote, falling more than 20 points behind Metzger, who received 9,883 votes for 60.9 percent.

Meanwhile, Thomas and Cooney, running in the 6th and 56th districts, respectively, as Democrats, ran unopposed. Thomas will take on Republican incumbent Kemp Hannon in the general. Cooney will challenge Republican incumbent Joseph Robach in the November election.

Thomas, an Indian American attorney in New York, earlier shifted gears in his political aspirations for 2018 from a congressional bid to one in the state Senate (see India-West article here: https://bit.ly/2OtNhU8).

Thomas told India-West that, just weeks after announcing his bid for Congress in New York's 2nd District, he dropped out to run for a state Senate seat in New York's 6th Legislative District.

"I left the Congressional race because I can protect more New Yorkers in the state Senate and the Democratic Party has endorsed me as their nominee," Thomas told India-West. "I will be the first Indian American to get the backing for any (New York State) office by the Democratic party," he added. A win would flip the state Senate from GOP to Democratic majority.

"This will be an exciting race," Thomas stressed to India-West.

The candidate is essentially campaigning on the same premise as he was while running for Congress for the short time. He said that the next several years “will determine our destiny and the quality of life we will give to our children and grandchildren,” adding that he has worked tirelessly to bring justice to those who could not stand up for themselves.

Thomas said his campaign will be about fighting for the less fortunate, those without a voice and those who have given up hope in the justice system. He is an appointee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to the New York State Advisory Committee, a federal agency tasked with civil rights oversight. Thomas said he will stand up to President Donald Trump and fight for the people of Nassau and Suffolk counties.

In the state Assembly, Khorshed Chowdhury and Akshay Vaishampayan were seeking to advance to the general election in less than two months.

Vaishampayan, running as a Democrat in District 74, was looking to unseat incumbent Harvey Epstein – who had just won the seat in an April special election. The Indian American generated 19 percent of the vote in the three-candidate race, finishing a distant second to the incumbent, who received 63 percent of the vote.

Chowdhury, in District 54, advanced by running unopposed. The Bangladeshi American, running as a Republican, will be challenging Democratic incumbent Erik Dilan in the general.

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