- The young lawmaker, who was first elected to represent his Dayton-area Senate district in 2020 after serving six years in the Ohio House, plans to continue serving until his term expires in 2024.
Ohio State Sen. Niraj Antani is running for U.S. Congress from the second Congressional District to replace retiring Rep. Brad Wenstrup. If elected, he’ll be the first Indian American Republican in the U.S. Congress.
Antani, who was born and raised right here in southern Ohio, was first elected to represent his Dayton-area Senate district in 2020 after serving six years in the Ohio House. He is currently Ohio’s youngest senator and the first Indian American to serve in the Senate.
The young lawmaker plans to continue serving in his Senate district until his term expires in 2024. However, he currently doesn’t live in the district he’s representing in the House, which includes Clinton and Clermont counties and the southern tip of Ohio. Instead, the young lawmaker lives in Miami Township in Clermont County which he represents in the state Senate along with Dayton and southern Montgomery County suburbs. He told the Dayton Daily News that his current residence is “just 17 miles” from the 2nd District and he will move should he win. Members of Congress are not required to live in their district, though members of the Ohio Senate are.
In a Nov. 14 press release announcing his run, Antani promised to be “a conservative warrior in Congress and fight against Joe Biden’s disastrous policies.” In Congress, he will have “a steel spine in standing for life, our 2nd Amendment rights, and for pro-growth economic policies,” he said. “As a fiercely pro-Trump Republican, I will work hard every day for our community in Congress to ensure every Ohioan has an opportunity to achieve the American Dream.”
The second district’s “partisan voter index leans significantly Republican,” he wrote on X. “Over the next days, weeks, and months, I look forward to working hard to earn the support of the voters and to win this campaign,” he added.
Some of Antonio’s colleagues aren’t happy with his decision to continue serving in the state Senate. Montgomery County Republican Party Chairman state Rep. Phil Plummer, R-Dayton, told the Dayton Daily News that he “would prefer if Antani would resign his Senate seat and let the party pick a replacement who could run as an incumbent.” Similarly, Montgomery County Democratic Party chairman Mohamed Al-Hamdani “expressed concern that Antani won’t be able to pay proper attention to representing local interests in the Ohio Senate while running for a U.S. House seat multiple counties away.”
Meanwhile, Antonio’s Senate district now leans heavily Democratic after recent redistricting. But he told the Cincinnati Enquirer that it “didn’t drive his decision to run for Congress.” Democrats lining up to run for the seat include state Rep. Willis Blackshear Jr., D-Dayton; Kettering City Councilwoman Jyl Hall; and Dayton Board of Education Member Jocelyn Rhynard, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported, citing records from the Montgomery County Board of Elections.
The Republican primary in Ohio will take place on March 19.