The race for Congress was markedly different from Jindal’s previous and first attempt for an elected office—the governor’s race, which he lost last year to Democrat Kathleen Blanco. He listed that as the reason he never took his strong lead for granted in the 1st District race.
“We took this race very seriously. We started every day as though we were 30 points behind,” Jindal said. “We knocked on 100,000 doors. We held dozens of backyard parties.”
Jindal, a former Bush administration health official, moved to the wealthiest congressional district in Louisiana at the start of the year after carrying the area overwhelmingly in his bid for governor.
“Maybe it’s because I’m the son of immigrants who picked Louisiana over every other place in the world, but I believe the American dream can live and thrive in our state more than any other,” Jindal told jubilant supporters in his victory speech.
Jindal becomes the first South Asian American elected to Congress since Dilip Singh Saund of California in 1956. Louisiana’s 1st District seat was vacated when Republican David Vitter chose to run for the U.S. Senate.
Elsewhere, seven other South Asian American candidates won local elections. In South Carolina, businesswoman Nikki Randhawa-Haley ran unopposed for a heavily Republican state legislature seat after winning the primary election last June. Democrat Swati Dandekar easily won re-election to the Iowa state legislature. Harry Sidhu and Jagdip Sidhu succeeded in their city-council bids in Kerman and Anaheim, Calif. Also in California, Shinku Sharma was the first South Asian American elected to a school board in Saratoga.
Sources: Associated Press, IALIPAC