- Bangladeshi American Nabilah Islam wins bid for District 7 State Senate seat in Georgia’s Democratic primary, while Farooq Mughal of Pakistani descent, is heading to the November election from District 105.
Thre South Asian Americans have won Georgia’s Democratic primaries for state Senate and House races. Bangladeshi American Nabilah Islam narrowly defeated state Rep. Beth Moore in Georgia’s Democratic primary for the state Senate District 7 race. In the state House race, Pakistani American government affairs advisor and political strategist Farooq Mughal won the Democratic primary, while Bangladeshi American Arefeen Chowdhury won the Republican primary with 4,039 votes, from District 105.
Islam received 50.34 percent of the votes, compared to 49.66% percent for Moore. With a 0.68 percentage point margin of victory, Islam just avoided an opportunity for Moore to seek a recount, as reported by the Gwinnett Daily Post. “State law was changed in 2019 to make it so a recount is held if a candidate is within half of a percentage point of their opponent,” the Gwinnett Daily Post noted.
The seat is a new addition to Gwinnett’s Senate delegation due to redistricting last year. There is no incumbent in the race. Islam will face Republican Josh McKay, who defeated Bill Sandman in the GOP primary, in November.
Islam, who has been called the Atlanta area’s equivalent to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), is a lifelong fighter, organizer, and community advocate dedicated to advancing Democratic causes and values. She is currently a member of the Gwinnett Outreach Advisory Board. In that position, she has worked to provide assistance and support for AAPI small business owners in Gwinnett following the targeted Asian spa shootings, according to her website.
In 2020, Islam was in a crowded field of Democrats who ran for the 7th Congressional District seat which was won by Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Ga.). After the election, she worked as a senior advisor to the Gwinnett Democratic Party where she helped lead outreach to Vietnamese, Korean, and Latino communities to come out and vote. She was also appointed to become the president of I-PAC, an organization dedicated to getting out the Muslim American vote, she led a historic effort of reaching out to over 60,000 registered Muslim voters across the state during the critical runoffs.
Mughal, who ran uncontested, will now face Republican Arefeen Chowdhury, who also ran uncontested. Mughal grew up in Gwinnett County to immigrant parents who moved to the United States from Pakistan, arriving in Lawrenceville, Georgia in 1995, according to his website. Moghul learned from his parents “the values of hard work and integrity,” and “instilled in him the values of service and the importance of giving back to our community and country.” He went on to attend Mercer University in Macon, graduating in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology.
In 2008, Mughal founded his own governmental affairs firm, MS Global Partners – Government and Business Advisors. His core services provide government entities and minority business owners – Asian Americans, Black, Latino, Veteran, and Women-owned enterprises – strategic advice for their economic development, business expansion, technology, and public engagement needs.
He got his first job after graduating from Mercer University at King & Spalding LLP, Atlanta’s largest and most prestigious law firm. There, he had the opportunity to work under the supervision of the Hon. Griffin Bell, who had previously served as the 72nd U.S. Attorney General under President Jimmy Carter. He then subsequently served for over two years as a legal aide to the Chief Assistant Solicitor General of Gwinnett County, where he conducted legislative research and coordinated seminars for the Prosecuting Attorney’s Council of Georgia and Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.
Meanwhile, Indian American Republican Kartik Bhatt lost his bid for Labor Commissioner. State Sen. Bruce Thompson won the three-way primary for the Republican nomination, the seat held by incumbent commissioner Mark Butler, a Republican, who wasn’t seeking reelection.
In 2019, Bhatt was appointed to the Georgia Board of Examiners for the Certification of Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators and Laboratory Analysts. In a social media post, he thanked “the more than 66,000 hard-working Georgians” who voted for him. “Thank you for your trust and support in a simple person like me who has immigrated before around 2 decades to this great nation and has started his career as a cart pusher. Your love and support will motivate me to continue my career in electoral politics.”
He said he is “proud to be first among the Indian community to fight the primary election for labor commissioner in Georgia. And even though he hasn’t broken, he has “at least cracked the ceiling.” He hoped that “many more candidates from the Indian community will join me in fighting elections at the state level in the future.”