- The Indian American represents Monmouth County which Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli won by nearly 20 points.
New Jersey State Sen. Vin Gopal, a Democrat, has declared victory in a tight race in District 11, against Republican Lori Annetta. Although no local news outlet or the Associated Press or The New York Times has called the race, Gopal took to his social media handles today, Oct. 5, to declare victory. District 11 makes up much of southern Monmouth County, including Colts Neck, Asbury Park, Deal, Eatontown, Freehold, Long Branch, Neptune, Ocean Township, Red Bank, Shrewsbury and Tinton Falls.
Gopal is the New Jersey Senate Majority Conference Leader, chairman of the Legislative Manufacturing Caucus, vice-chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, and serves on the Senate Economic Growth Committee and Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee.
“I am humbled to announce that with a comfortable enough lead of over 2,500 votes ahead and less than 1,200 votes to be counted, I can formally declare victory,” he wrote in a Facebook post. Noting that this year’s “Republican tidal wave” led to the defeat of “many of our great local elected officials in Monmouth County and across the state,” Gopal said he is “fortunate to have the opportunity to continue serving Monmouth County after Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli won our county by nearly 20 points.” He said, “Democrats, we must learn from our mistakes, turn the page, and build towards a future in which our message resonates with a wider share of the electorate.” He promised to “continue to firmly advocate for a return to civility in our politics,” adding that “it’s time for a new generation of leaders to stand up, bring us back together, and deliver results for working families.”
Over 1,000 mail-in and provisional votes remain to be counted by Monmouth County election officials, he said. Gopal’s running mates Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling and Assemblywoman Joann Downey are in a “too-close-to-call” race.
In 2018, Gopal made history by becoming the first and only Indian American in the state Senate, as well as the first Democrat in 30 years to win the 11th District seat and at 32, the youngest legislator in New Jersey’s upper house.
A small-business owner and a lifelong Monmouth County resident, Gopal was born in Neptune Township and raised in Freehold. After earning a Bachelor of Arts from Penn State, he spent years building his business from the ground up; and is based out of Tinton Falls and Hazlet. As a successful small business owner, Gopal was the president of the Hazlet Township Business Owners Association and served on the Board of Directors for the Monmouth County Chamber of Commerce, where he chaired the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee.
He is also the founder and president of a 501c(3) organization dedicated to helping Monmouth County charities and individuals in need.
A graduate of Pennsylvania State University, he previously served on the board of directors for what is now the Monmouth County Chamber of Commerce where he chaired the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee. He is a past president of the Hazlet Township Business Owners Association and a former board member of Big Brothers-Big Sisters of Monmouth County.