Victory for Diversity in U.S. as Asian Americans, Other Minorities Win Polls

Victory of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, including Manka Dhingra and Vin Gopal, mark significant support for the progressives.


Diversity trumped reactionary and divisive politics in the United States on Nov. 7 when Asian Americans, African Americans, Latinas and transgender candidates won seats in local and state-level elections. The victories mark a change from the divisive politics of U.S. President Donald Trump that had led to negative perception of immigrants and people of color in the country.

The victory of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, including Indian-origin candidates Manka Dhingra and Vin Gopal, mark a significant win for the progressives. Dhingra won Washington’s 45th Legislative District state Senate seat over Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund. She received 55.4 per cent votes as compared to the 44.6 per cent received by Englund.

“We were pleased to endorse Senator-elect Manka Dhingra and we celebrate her victory,” Shekar Narasimhan, the chairman and co-founder of the AAPI Victory Fund, said. “Investing in mobilizing the local Asian American and Pacific Islander community yielded concrete results, and the AAPI Victory Fund will continue to support candidates that recognize the importance of our community and stand for our values.”

Among those who emerged winners were Kathy Tran, who won the 42nd District of the Virginia House of Delegates by nearly a two-to-one margin. She is the first Vietnamese American and Asian American woman elected to statewide office in Virginia. Another significant Democrat win in Virginia was that of Danica Roem, a former journalist, who defeated anti-trans incumbent legislator Bob Marshall. The results are seen as an indication of the anger felt by the common people against the Republican government.

“Kelly Convirs-Fowler, a Filipino American, defeated a four-term conservative Filipino American incumbent in the 41st District of the Virginia House of Delegates. She joins Tran and Korean American Mark Keam in the House,” AAPI said in a statement.

In New Jersey, which has a diverse population, Vin Gopal won in the 11th District of the State Senate, defeating an 11-year incumbent Jennifer Beck. He became the first South Asian American elected to the NJ state senate. Meanwhile, Ravinder Bhalla became the mayor of Hoboken, NJ. He is the second Sikh American mayor in the United States’ history.

Ravi Bhalla won the mayoral election in Hoboken, New Jersey, despite a vicious racist flier distributed against him. He is the second Sikh American mayor in U.S. history. In local elections in the state, Jerry Shi and Falguni Patel won seats on the school board in Edison, where racist fliers against them were distributed seeking their deportation.

In Utah’s West Valley, Jacob “Jake” Fitisemanu, Jr., one of AAPI Progressive Action’s National Advisory Council members, was elected to the City Council.

Other Indian Americans who won in local council, school board and other local seats are Vijay Kapoor in Asheville, North Carolina.; Seema Singh Perez in Knoxville, Tennessee.; Dimple Ajmera in Charlotte, N.C.; Satwinder Kaur and Maya Vengadasalam in Kent, Washington.; Tanika Padhye in Redmond, Wash.; and Sam Joshi in Edison, N.J.

In Virginia, which had given Democrat Hillary Clinton more popular votes, African American Justin Fairfax became the Lieutenant Governor, while Hala Ayala and Elizabeth Guzman became the first two Latinas in the Virginia House of Delegates. Incumbent Attorney General Mark Herring retained his position.

The recent victories indicate a changing political scenario, with South Asians winning in states like Utah and Tennessee.

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