Indian American Candidates Win Primaries in Ohio, North Carolina

Three Indian American candidates -- Aftab Pureval, Niraj Antani and Aziz Ahmad -- won in primaries in Ohio.


Indian American and South Asian American politicians emerged victorious during primary elections in Ohio and North Carolina on May 8. Elections were also conducted in Indiana and West Virginia on the same day, but South Asian Americans did not merge victorious there.

Aftab Pureval, 35, a Democrat who was running in Ohio’s 1st Congressional District, won unopposed in the primary election. He will face the Republican incumbent Steve Chabot during the general election on Nov. 6, 2018.

Pureval, who has an India-born father and Tibet-born mother, holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and earned his law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law. He worked as an associate at White & Case after graduating from UC, and was later employed at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cincinnati, and with Procter & Gamble.

He first came to public attention by winning the Hamilton County clerk of courts seat in 2016.

“I’m running for Congress because we need a new direction for our country and a new generation of leadership,” Pureval said in a tweet. “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. Let’s do this together.”

The two other Indian American candidates in Ohio — Niraj Antani and Aziz Ahmad — also advanced to the general election in the 42nd District and 7th District seat.

Antani is the Republican incumbent in the 42nd District. He won with 63 per cent votes.

He is first Indian American Republican elected to the Ohio House. He graduated from the Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

“Thanks to you, we won the Republican primary (May 8) for my re-election as your State Representative,” Antani said in an emailed statement to his supporters, according to India West. “With your support, I will be able to continue fighting every day at the State House to ensure every Ohioan has the opportunity to achieve their American Dream.”

Antani will face Democrat Zach Dickerson in the general election.

Ahmad, a Democrat who ran unopposed in the 7th District, will face Republican incumbent Thomas Patton in the November election.

He studied international affairs and political science at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, and serves as a Teach for America Corps Member. He is pursuing a masters degree in public administration and policy from American University.

In North Carolina, South Asian Americans ran for seats at state-level offices.

Jay Chaudhuri, a state Senate candidate and Democratic incumbent in the 15th Legislative District, won his primary, unopposed. He will face Republican Alan Mitchell and Libertarian Brian Lewis in November.

Chaudhuri is an Indian American attorney, professor, and politician.

In the Democratic primary for the 38th State Senate District, Mujtaba Mohammed, also an Indian American, won with 52 percent of the vote. He will be challenged by Republican Richard Rivette in the general election.

Mohammed is a former staff attorney and child advocate at the Council for Children’s Rights, and a fighter for indigent people as an Assistant Public Defender in Charlotte.


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