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All Politics Local: Several Indian Americans Win City Council and School Board Races

All Politics Local: Several Indian Americans Win City Council and School Board Races

  • A record number of candidates ran in New Jersey and California, where some of the races are still too close to call.

For the past few years, there’s been a steady rise in Indian American and South Asian American engagement in politics, at every level – federal, state, city and local governments. The four years of the Trump administration, as well as the election of Vice President Kamala Devi Harris, are among pivotal developments that have prompted many to foray into politics, as organizers, volunteers, or candidates. 

This year was no execption. There have been several candidates of South Asian origin who ran for local offices and school boards, with a record number of candidates in states like New Jersey and California.

Some races in California, particularly in the East and South Bay Area still too close to call. San Jose Mercury News estimates that “voters might not see final results for weeks to come,” as the mail-in ballots are still eligible to be counted until seven days after the election. Many of those races have Indian American candidates. 

Raj Chahal, left, campaigns in Santa Clara’s District 2.

In Santa Clara’s District 2, incumbent councilman Raj Chahal “continues to maintain his sizeable lead over challenger Larry McColloch,” as reported by The Silicon Valley voice. Similarly, the Sunnyvale City Council District 3 race has been going through a “back and forth swing” between Murali Srinivasan and Justin Wang. Right now, “just 12 votes separate the two candidates,” The Silicon Valley Voice reported.  

For the special election of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District Governing Board, “incumbent Ami Gandhi was ahead of engineering project manager Aaron Chan, 8,242 (51.95%) to 7,622 (48.05%),” reported The Rafu Shimpo, a Japanese-English language newspaper based in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. Gandhi was appointed last year to fill the vacancy left by the death of board member Jeff Frankel.

Meanwhile in Austin, Texas, the race for a city council seat from District 9 is headed to a Dec. 13 runoff with Zohaib “Zo” Qadri in the lead with 10,759 votes. He will face Linda Guerreror.

Below are some of the winners in the city council and board of education races:

City and Town Council Races


Janani Ramachandran: Oakland City Council to represent District 4. She is the youngest councilmember to ever be elected in Oakland’s history, at age 30, as well as the city’s first South Asian councilmember, and the first queer woman of color to be elected to the city council.

Rashi Kesarwani (incumbent): Berkeley City Council from District 1.

Ali Taj (incumbent): Artesia City Council.


Paras Parekh: 12th District of Lake County on the County Board.

New Jersey

Amber Murad (Republican): Somerset County Commissioner


Haseeb Javed: Manassas Park Council

Naila Alam: Fairfax County Herndon Town Council

Pradip Dhakal: Fairfax County Herndon Town Council

Board of Education Elections 


Anu Nakka: Milpitas Unified School District’s (MUSD) Board of Education. She is the first Indian American ever elected to public office in Silicon Valley city.

New Jersey

Nimish Amin: Bernards Board of Education

Gagandeep Minhas: BoundBrook Board of Education

Bindu Shah, Pooja Desai: Branchburg Board of Education

See Also

Ardaman Singh: Franklin Board of Education 

Mohamed Freij: Watchung Board of Education 

Pramod Chivate: Cranbury Board of Education

Vishal Patel: Edison Board of Education

Divinder Singh: Old Bridge Board of Education

Alisha Khan: South Brunswick Board of Education 

Akshar “AJ” Sidana: Woodbridge Board of Education 

Somil Jain: Little Silver Board of Education 

Anu Shanbhag: Marlboro Township Board of Education

Teena Patel: Monmouth Regional High School Board of Education

Vishal Patel: Edison Board of Education

Mariam Khan: Dennis Township Board of Education

Sheetal Desai Werneke: Matawan-Aberdeen Regional Board of Education 

Subrata Chowdhury: Atlantic City School District

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