- In local elections, Sikh American Iqleen K. Virdi becomes the Sikh American woman to be elected councilwoman in Marlboro Township; while incumbents Ajay V. Patil and Sivaraman “Ram” Anbarasan win in Edison and Franklin Township respectively.
New Jersey State Sen. Vin Gopal easily won a third term with nearly 60% of the vote, while Assemblyman Raj Mukherji got elected to the newly-drawn state Senate from the newly-formed 32nd district. Gopal “fended off a challenge” from Republican Steve Dnistrian in “one of New Jersey’s most-watched legislative races,” according to the Associated Press. With 99.4% of the vote in, Gopal had 32,885 or 59.72% of votes cast compared with his Republican challenger, Stephen Dnistrian, who received 21,683, or 39.38%, the New Jersey Globe reported. He represents one of the few purple districts in New Jersey, an area that crisscrosses Monmouth County from the middle of the state to Asbury Park at the shore.
Gopal’s running mates won as well. The Indian American ran with Ocean Township councilwoman Dr. Margie Donlon, and former Asbury Park and Long Branch Municipal Court Judge Luanne Peterpaul, Both won their seats. The 38-year-old was first elected to the state Senate in 2017 and is considered a rising star in the Democratic Party. He was the first South Asian American elected to the New Jersey State Senate.
He chairs the Senate Education Committee and serves as Senate majority conference leader. He is also the vice chair of the Senate Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee, and a member of the Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.
Mukherji defeated Republican Ilyas Mohammed in the district which includes Hoboken and half of Jersey City. The 37-year-old joined the race when State Sen. Brian Stack (D-Union City) was shifted into a different district. He most recently served as a Majority Whip in the New Jersey General Assembly. Mukherji was first elected to serve as a state assemblyman in 2013 and represented the 33rd Legislative District. Before that, he was deputy mayor of Jersey City and chairman of the Jersey City Housing Authority, the youngest in city history.
Sikh American Iqleen K. Virdi became the first Sikh American woman to be elected councilwoman in Marlboro Township. She ran for the seat held by Democrat Randi Marder, who chose not to seek re-election. Her website describes her as “ a successful woman business leader and entrepreneur, and chairwoman and CEO of KIV Investments Group of Companies.”
In other council races, Ajay V. Patil won his re-election bid to the Edison Township Council with 7,607 votes, and incumbent. Franklin Township councilman and deputy mayor Sivaraman “Ram” Anbarasan won with 8,362 votes.
In Burlington County, incumbent Balvir Singh beat Republican Larry Vernamonti.
In 2017 he became the county’s first Asian American countywide elected official, and the state’s first Sikh American to be elected to a countywide post.
(Photos from Facebook)