Washington, DC: Niraj Antani, R-Ohio, fighting to retain his Ohio State Assembly seat, won the GOP primary after running unopposed on March 15. Antani, who recently was named the second most influential Republican under the age of 30, announced he was running for re-election in December. “I think I’ve been able to be effective for my community,” the Indian American legislator told the media in the January report. “The legislature has been able to cut taxes, prevent overall increased spending and increase education spending.”
A graduate of Ohio State University, receiving a bachelor’s in political science, as well as a juris doctorate degree from the University of Dayton School of Law, Antani was previously the communications director for the Ohio State University College Republicans during the 2012 presidential election, as well as the chair for the Young Americans for Romney in Ohio.
Antani was named to Forbes Magazine’s list of the top “30 Under 30” people in the United States for Law and Politics in 2015. In addition, he was named to the “Top 30 Conservatives Under Age 30 in the United States” list by Red Alert Politics. And in 2013, the Montgomery County Republican Party named him the “Republican Man of the Year.”
The young GOP candidate will be campaigning against Patrick Merris, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary. “I was grateful that I was unopposed in the Republican primary and was glad to have received nearly 15,000 votes in the primary,” Antani was quoted to have said. “I look forward to the campaign in the fall, so I can continue my work to expand the American Dream to all those who work for it.”
He represents the 42nd District, which covers most of southern Montgomery County. At age 24, he is the youngest currently serving member of the House. In addition, he is the second Indian-American state elected official in Ohio history, and the first Indian-American Republican. During the Romney campaign in 2012, Antani worked for the Ohio State Director & Senior Adviser to the campaign. In 2010, he worked for U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in Washington, DC. In Ohio, Antani worked for then State Representative – now State Senator – Peggy Lehner in 2009, as well as U.S. Congressman Mike Turner in his Dayton office in 2007.
A strong conservative, Antani is a member of the NRA and volunteers for Dayton Right to Life. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Miamisburg, serves on the executive board of the non-profit Dayton International Festival, Inc., and he chairs the Ohio Republican Party Asian Pacific American Advisory Council. Antani has appeared on Fox News, PBS NewsHour with Judy Woodruff, C-SPAN, CNBC, and Chuck Todd’s radio show. In addition, he has appeared in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, and Newsmax.
Antani said a lot of people have criticized him for his age, but he sees it as an advantage. “I believe our generation should have a voice. The legislature in Columbus should look like who they serve, they should not all just be one age demographic,” he said. “A lot of people who told me to wait to run, they told me I was too young, too inexperienced. I did not believe that. Candidates should be chosen on their merit, on who is going to be the best candidate.”