Sri Kulkarni advances to runoff in Congressional Primary in Texas

The 2018 nation-wide primaries leading to the general election began with the first primaries being held in the state of Texas on March 6ht. There were several Indian American candidates who had their names on the ballot.

The lone Indian American political candidate who had success in the March 6 primary elections throughout Texas, Sri Kulkarni. Seeking the Democratic nomination, he advanced to a May 22 runoff after earning 31.8 percent of the vote in Texas’ 22nd Congressional District. He will face Letitia Plummer, who finished second with 24.3 percent. There were five candidates in the race.

According to Texas election law, if a candidate does not get more than 50 percent of the votes, there will be a runoff between the top two finishers. If Kulkarni emerges as a winner in the runoff, he will run against the incumbent Republican representative Pete Olson.

If elected, Sri will become the first Indian American congressman from the state of Texas. He is one of the nearly two-dozen Indian Americans who are running for Congress this year.

Sri, who raised more than USD 96,000 in campaign donations, is hoping that the demographic diversity of the district it is a majority minority district  will favour him. He told PTI that he was running because of the anti- American policies of the Trump administration. 

“We are all grateful and could not have done this without y’all. Over 9,000 voters came out to support us and we are all truly humbled. When I began this journey, I aimed to bring reason, compassion and decency into our government. People said it was impossible. Many said it was risky. Others said it was pointless, but I knew I had to do something,” Kulkarni said in a Facebook post after the results came out.

“I resigned as a diplomat in the U.S. State Department, where I had served our country for 14 years. I met with and listen to thousands of people in District 22 on how to make that much needed change possible. We stand proud and celebrate the beautiful diversity of our unique neighborhoods. We have shown we can bridge our communities and have our voices represented,” he added.

According to his campaign website Kulkarni “is a proven leader who has been serving his family, community and country for his entire life” and while in Congress will focus on universal healthcare, veterans and national defense, climate change, gun violence, education, economic inequality, disaster relief, criminal justice reform and immigration reform.

“When I began this journey, I aimed to bring reason, compassion and decency into our government. People said it was impossible. Many said it was risky. Others said it was pointless, but I knew I had to do something,” he added. “I resigned as a diplomat in the U.S. State Department, where I had served our country for 14 years. I met with and listen to thousands of people in District 22 on how to make that much needed change possible. “We stand proud and celebrate the beautiful diversity of our unique neighborhoods. We have shown we can bridge our communities and have our voices represented,” he said.

Other Indian Americans and South Asian Americans were running for lower level offices. Juli Mathew advanced running unopposed for the Fort Bend County Court-at-Law No. 3 judge position.

Syed S. Ali moved on by running unopposed in the state’s 131st Legislative District for state representative on the GOP side. In the 93rd District, Nisha Mathews came up short in the Democratic primary for state representative, falling to Nancy Bean. Dinesh Mali failed to earn the Republican nomination for state representative in the 105th District, falling short to Rodney Anderson.

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