Indian American candidates in New York had a great night June 23 in the New York state primary, with Jenifer Rajkumar and Jeremy Cooney winning their state-level races and Suraj Patel pushing longtime incumbent U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney to the brink with votes still to be counted in the 12th Congressional District.
In a 2018 Democratic primary rematch with Maloney, Patel, as of early June 24, was less than 650 votes shy of the veteran congresswoman who has served the district since 1992 and sits as the chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
Thousands of votes are still to be counted, including absentee ballots that will continue to be accepted through June 30 as long as they have been postmarked for June 23, the day of the primary.
At time of press, Maloney had 16,473 votes for 40.34 percent; Patel generated 15,825 votes for 38.75 percent.
“We are confident in our path to victory after a strong performance on Election Day, which traditionally favors establishment voters,” Patel said in a statement.
“Over 58 percent of New Yorkers have rejected the incumbent’s politics of the past. We have a mandate for change, and the final tally will reflect that.
“We are proud to have run the best absentee ballot field program in this race, and now the energy and momentum is on our side,” Patel added. “With thousands of votes outstanding — many from young voters and people of color — we will fight to ensure that every vote is counted, every voice is heard, and New Yorkers have the representation they deserve.”
Elsewhere in New York primaries, Jenifer Rajkumar, who had previously made a bid for State Assembly in the 65th District in 2016, was running for the Assembly seat in the 38th District.
Rajkumar was successful in her bid to unseat Democratic incumbent Assemblyman Michael Miller, winning with 49.47 percent of the vote (2,624 votes) to Miller’s 24.51 percent (1,300 votes). Joseph de Jesus finished third with 20.89 percent and 1,108 votes, according to the New York Registrar of Voters.
Cooney was running to earn the Democratic nomination in the 56th State Senate District.
Taking on Hilda Rosario Escher and Sherita Traywick, Cooney earned 4,087 votes for 44.5 percent, dominating his two competitors. Traywick finished second with 2,654 and 28.9 percent of the vote; Escher took third with 26.5 percent and 2,431 votes.
Other Indian Americans and South Asians throughout the state didn’t fare as well.
In the 5th Congressional District, Democrat Shaniyat Chowdhury lost in a landslide to Gregory W. Meeks, 73.38 percent to 21.21 percent. Badrun N. Khan finished third of five candidates in the 14th Congressional District Democratic primary with 5.17 percent; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won convincingly with 69.56 percent.
In the 23rd State Senate District, Rajiv Gowda fell in the Democratic primary to Diane J. Savino, 70.68 percent to 25.79 percent.
In the 34th Assembly District, Joy Chowdhury finished third; Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas won the election.