US midterms: Samosa caucus gets fifth member as it chalks up with crisp wins

WASHINGTON: The so-called “Samosa Caucus“- an informal grouping of Indian-American lawmakers in the US Congress- added a fifth member to its ranks on Tuesday with the victory in Michigan of Democrat Shri Thanedar.
Four incumbent lawmakers, all Democrats, also carved out comfortable victories, while a new star rose in the gubernatorial ranks with the election of Democrat Aruna Miller as the lieutenant governor in Maryland.
Thanedar, a 67-year entrepreneur originally from Karnataka polled a whopping 72 per cent vote in Michigan’s newly drawn 13th district, which includes Detroit and its suburbs. It was previously represented by Palestinian-American Rashida Tlaib, who shifted to the 12th district.
Their elections means Detroit, which is 75 percent black and has one of the heaviest concentration of African-Americans, does not have a black representation for the first time in 70 years. Thanedar has pledged to represent the black community, saying both black and brown folk are at the receiving end of racial injustice.
Born to a lower income family in Belgaum, Karnataka, Thanedar came to the US in 1979 to pursue a PhD at the University of Akron. He worked in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry, before rising to build his own company.
Thanedar joins a desi clique that has as its members Ami Bera and Ro Khanna from California, Pramila Jayapal from Washington state, and Raja Krishnamurthi from Illinois. All four represent predominantly urban districts far removed from the MAGA constituency and its angst, and chalked up comfortable wins.
Also winning on Tuesday was Andhra-born Aruna Miller, who was elected Lt Governor of Maryland, adjoining Washington DC, on a Democratic ticket.
“Maryland, tonight you showed the nation what a small but mighty state can do when democracy is on the ballot. You chose unity over division, expanding rights over restricting rights, and hope over fear. You chose Wes Moore and me to be your next Governor and Lieutenant Governor,” Miller said in her victory speech.

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