Sri Preston Kulkarni, Indian American Democratic candidate for Texas’ 22nd Congressional District, convincingly won the party’s runoff election May 22.
Kulkarni, who had been in a hotly-contested race against Letitia Plummer, pulled out a nearly 35-point win, collecting 9,502 – or 62.12 percent – of the 15,296 votes. Plummer, on the other hand, managed a mere 5,794 votes – or 37.88 percent.
“Today, May 22nd, we made history in District 22. Our movement, uniting diverse communities through shared values, took us across the finish line and helped me become your Democratic nominee for U.S. Congress. None of this would have been possible without our hundreds of volunteers, from middle schoolers to senior citizens, and, of course, the thousands of voters who participated in this election,” Kulkarni wrote on his Facebook page.
“I am beyond thankful to be in this fight with you. I look forward to working with y'all to make sure our communities and our families get the representation they deserve in Congress,” the primary victor added.
While not personally congratulating Kulkarni for the win, Plummer posted a humble concession on her campaign’s Facebook page.
“This was not a loss, we just did too much good work. I want to thank every SINGLE person that was a part of the campaign from my supporters, donors, volunteers, office staff, and my family. You all believed in me when no one else did. There is more work to be done,” she wrote.
Kulkarni and Plummer were the top two vote-getters in the March 6 primary, with the Indian American receiving 31.8 percent of the vote to Plummer’s 24.3 percent, setting up the runoff (see India-West article here).
There was some controversy heading into the March election, however, with news of a drug arrest surfacing from when Kulkarni was a teenager (see India-West article here). That didn’t hinder the voters, however, as Kulkarni acknowledged it, and they remained focused on the issues.
Kulkarni now advances to the November general where he hopes to unseat Republican incumbent Pete Olson.
Elsewhere in Texas, the Republican candidate in the state House of Representatives 131st District, Syed Ali, remains in campaign mode as he has no party competition. He will face Democratic incumbent Alma Allen in the November general election.
Additionally, Sam Tejas, who was running for a spot in the general in the state House 133rd District, finished third and failed to advance. He received 9 percent of the vote to Sandra Moore’s 49.92 percent and Martin Schexnayder’s 40.93 percent.
Another congressional candidate, Indian American Democrat Chintan Desai, breezed through the May 22 primary as he ran unopposed in Arkansas’ 1st Congressional District. (See earlier India-West story here.)
Four South Asian Americans in Georgia were running in the May 22 statewide primary elections. Seeking a state Senate seat was Democrat Sheikh Rahman. In the state House were Democrat candidates Gaurav Phadke and Hamid Noori, as well as Republican Indran Krishnan.
Rahman was running against Democratic incumbent Curt Thompson in the de facto general election with no Republicans seeking the seat. The Indian American secured 68 percent of the vote to Thompson’s 32 percent to secure the Senate seat.
In the Georgia House, Phadke, Noori and Krishnan all fell short. Phadke earned just 14 percent of the vote in falling to Angelika Kausche in the state House 50th District. Noori was challenging Democratic incumbent Scott Holcomb but was easily defeated 74 percent to 26 percent in the 81st Legislative District. And in the 97th District, Krishnan finished a distant third in the Republican primary to Bonnie Rich and Kipper Tabb, who will later have a runoff to decide the party’s nominee to challenge Aisha Yaqoob in the general.
A primary election was also held in Kentucky, though there were no Indian American or South Asian American candidates.