Gopal Vin hopeful of flipping Senate seat in NJ

Vin Gopal, an Indian American and a former Monmouth County Democratic Party chairman, is running for the 11th District state Senate seat representing Monmouth County in New Jersey, hoping to clinch it away from the Republican Party. Gopal’s announcement is a direct challenge to state Sen. Jen Beck, a Republican, who currently holds the seat. Beck will be seeking re-election. If Gopal succeeds in flipping the 11th District seat held since 2012 by Republican incumbent Jennifer Beck this November 7, he would become the first Indian-American State Senator in New Jersey’s history.

Gopal was unopposed in the June 6 primary, receiving the Democratic Party’s nod for the state’s 11th district. Gopal is running on a ticket with the two Democratic Assembly representatives who currently represent the district and will also be running to keep their seats, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling (D, Neptune Township) and Assemblywoman Joann Downey, (D, Freehold Township).

Gopal served for four years as the chair of the Monmouth County Democratic Party, a perch from where he is credited with engineering several electoral victories  to mayoral, city councils and the state assembly. In an interview over the weekend with Desi Talk, Gopal said his campaign has raised $600,000 so far out of a target of $2 million he estimated earlier was needed to win the race. “I have personally knocked on 3,500 doors and have another 300 volunteers” doing the same. “I am working hard to unseat a long-time incumbent,” Gopal acknowledged.

The American Federation of Teachers, New Jersey chapter has endorsed Gopal. The teachers union represents about 30,000 education workers across New Jersey. “I am proud to endorse Phil Murphy, Christine Lui Chen and Vin Gopal,” said Meng. “All are exceptional candidates who will fight tirelessly for New Jersey’s hard-working middle-class families,” Rep. Meng said in a press release. “I look forward to working with each of them to strengthen our economy, create jobs and ensure equal pay and affordable health care for all.” Gopal has held rallies with other candidates running for office, including most recently in Asbury Park, N.J., Democratic gubernatorial favorite Phil Murphy. New Jersey’s only Indian-American State Assemblyman Raj Mukherjee has also actively campaigned for Gopal.

“As a proud small business owner and life-long Monmouth County resident I love the State of New Jersey and I believe it is headed in the wrong direction,” said Gopal. “I have volunteered as a board member for our county chamber of commerce, as president of my town’s business owners association, as a volunteer EMT and a volunteer member for the county’s Big Brothers, Big Sisters Board. As your Senator, I will fight for every taxpayer in the 11th District.”

Garden State Equality, the state’s largest and most active gay and lesbian rights advocacy organization, has formally backed Vin Gopal for state senate in the battleground 11th District. “We consider Vin Gopal a friend, and we know he will have our back with Phil Murphy in Trenton,” Christian Fuscarino, executive director of Garden State Equality, told InsiderNJ. “We know we will have two allies. Vin Gopal is someone we can count on, and we know we can take him at his word,” Fuscarino said.

“I’m hoping everyone will take this seriously and if they do this could have a major impact on this race,” the Vin Gopal said of the endorsement. “There are not many districts where we can sway an election, but this is one.”

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