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South Asians in NJ Exercise Growing Political Muscle

A growing population of South Asians, now a sought-after voting bloc in the Garden State, puts forward a number of candidates

When he won a seat in the Assembly in 2001, Upendra Chivukula became the first South Asian elected to the State Legislature. Now a new generation of South Asians is flexing its political muscle in New Jersey.

“Folks like myself who grew up here understand the importance of government and making sure that your voice is heard,” Rajiv Parikh, general counsel for the New Jersey Democratic State Committee, said.

In one of the most contested Senate races in next month’s election, Vin Gopal, the former chairman of the Monmouth County Democratic Committee, is taking on Republican incumbent Jennifer Beck. In Hoboken, Councilman Ravi Bhalla, a Democrat, is running for mayor. And in Denville, Rupande Mehta is running for town council.

The rising political profile of South Asians, who tend to vote Democratic, has made them an increasingly sought-after voting bloc.

Read the full story on WNYC News, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.

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