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Primary Colors: Harry Arora Wins Republican Nomination for Connecticut Treasurer; Wisconsin AG Josh Kaul Sails Through Unopposed

Primary Colors: Harry Arora Wins Republican Nomination for Connecticut Treasurer; Wisconsin AG Josh Kaul Sails Through Unopposed

  • Along With the Nutmeg State, Indian American incumbents in Vermont and Wisconsin advance to November elections.

Indian American Dita Bhargava failed to secure the Democratic nomination for Connecticut treasurer in the Aug. 9 primary. She was outpolled by attorney Erick Russell who won the three-way race by receiving 58 percent of the votes, compared to Bhargava’s 23 percent, according to data by The New York Times. New Haven Housing Authority President Karen DuBois-Walton came in third place. Russell will face state Rep. Harry Arora, a Republican, who ran unopposed, in the general election in November. 

Harry Arora

Arora, currently a state representative from Connecticut’s 151st District, is the ranking member of the Labor Committee. He has 25 years of experience in portfolio management, and “a strong understanding of macro trends and fixed income,” his website says. He has founded and led a successful investment management business for almost two decades. He came to the United States from India as a graduate student 27 years ago and naturalized as an American citizen in 2004. He and his wife Nisha are raising their three kids in Greenwich. 

Bhargava took to Facebook to thank her supporters for “an outstanding campaign based on issues most pertinent to the communities of CT.” This was her second attempt at running for state treasurer. She left the Democratic contest for governor in 2018, when Ned Lamont entered the race, and decided to run for treasurer instead. She lost that race to former Hartford City Council president Shawn Wooden who scored a double-digit victory in the Aug. 14, 2018 Democratic primary.

Dita Bhargava

During her 2022 campaign, Bhargava made headlines with her TV commercials. Through these ads, the former Wall Street banker was aiming to change the perception of the role of the treasurer as well as dealing with a difficult personal story.

Although she did not get the convention endorsement, she was “the first Democrat in the race to qualify for a public campaign finance grant,” which she used to fund the two commercials ahead of the Aug. 9 primary election,” as reported by CT Mirror. 

Her first ad asserted that the next treasurer can play a role in fighting the loss of reproductive rights after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. In the second commercial, she recounted the 2018 death of her son, Alec Pelletier, from an accidental fentanyl overdose. In the 30-second video, she appears outside Purdue headquarters with a framed photo of her son above a caption reading “filmed without permission of Purdue Pharma.

After marrying her husband, Dan Pelletier, a former Wall Street banker, Bhargava moved to Connecticut in 2007 from New York. The couple has two children — Arya and Kalyan. 

Maryam Khan

Meanwhile, at the state level, Pakistani American Maryam Khan, representing Connecticut’s 5th district in the state House, has also advanced to the November election. She ran opposed and will face Republican Charles Jackson, who also ran uncontested. In 2020, Khan, a former school teacher, made history by becoming the first elected Muslim in the House. She won a special election to the 5th House District of Windsor and Hartford “winning nearly 75 percent of the votes,” CT Mirror reported at the time. 

In Vermont, state Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale advanced to the November general elections along with Ginny Lyons and Thomas Chittenden, all incumbents. Lyons had 30 percent of the vote while Ram Hinsdale had 27 percent and Chittenden had 26 percent, as reported by the Vermont Digger.

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She ended her bid for the state’s lone seat in the U.S. Congress in May, and announced her intent to seek re-election to the State Senate from Chittenden District. She also declared her support for Becca Balint, who, on Aug. 9, won the Democratic primary for the seat in the U.S. Congress.

Josh Kaul

In 2020, Ram Hinsdale became the first woman of color elected to the Vermont Senate. She was 22 when she was first elected to the Vermont House of Representatives in 2008, becoming the youngest person ever elected. She served in the body until 2016 when she left her seat to run in the Democratic primary for lieutenant governor. She lost out to David Zuckerman, a Progressive and Democrat who ultimately won the election. 

In Wisconsin, Attorney General Josh Kaul, who ran unopposed, will face GOP candidate Eric Toney, a veteran prosecutor and Fond du Lac County district attorney. Kaul took office in January 2019. According to the Associated Press, a day after the primary, Aug. 10, “Kaul’s campaign tried to frame the race as being about stark contrasts and hot-button issues, including gun rights and abortion rights.” Kaur is suing to overturn a1 849 state law banning all abortions except to save the life of the mother that Toney supports, the news agency noted. “Kaul also supports universal background checks and a red flag law that would allow judges to take guns away from people determined to be a threat to themselves and others, efforts that Toney opposes,” the report added.

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