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Upendra Chivukula elected to New Jersey assembly

Last updated on: November 05, 2003 22:33 IST

Democrat Upendra Chivukula has again won from the 17th District of New Jersey to the State Assembly.

But Republican Jesal Amin, the candidate in the 18th District, could not make it. The defeat of Satish Poondi, another Republican, who contested for the Edison City Council was also a shock to the Indian community. He was expected to win in Edison, which is a stronghold of the Indian community.

Chivukula got 28.95 per cent of the votes at the press time (10,282 votes). Results from a few places are expected to come in later.

His running mate Joseh Egan got 30.05 per cent (10,671 votes). Their Republican opponents could get only a little over 6000 votes.

Chivukula, the first Indian American to be elected to the NJ Assembly, thanked the Indian community for its support.

Upendra Chivukula. Pic: Paresh GandhiRepublicans Catherine J Barrier, a Franklin Township Councilwoman who had contested last time as well got 6534 votes while Scott Johnkins, an attorney got 6113 votes

The Green Party candidates got less than 1000 votes each.

In 2001 over 50 per cent of the 70,000 voters in the district voted. Chivukula then got 25,948 votes while Egan got 27,552. The Republican candidates each polled a little over 13,000 then.

Less than 30 per cent of the voters exercised their franchise this time.

Jesal Amin got 20.88 per cent (12,394 votes). His running mate Robert Thuring got 23 per cent of the votes. But the Democratic winners Peter Barnes got 29.48 per cent (17,503 votes) while his running mate Patrick Diegnan got 15,775 votes

There are about 95000 voters in the District.

The district is predominantly Democratic. They hold about a two-to-one advantage over Republicans.

Edison, with about a third of its voters registered as Democrats, and Metuchen, with about 30 per cent, are the strongest Democratic municipalities in percentage of registrants. Republicans have their highest percentages in Spotswood, East Brunswick and South River, each ranging at about 15 to near 16 per cent of total registrants.

Assemblyman Barnes, a member since 1996, is a retired FBI agent and director of public safety in Edison. Assemblyman Diegnan, elected in 2002, is an attorney in private practice.

In Rockland County, New York, Dr V J Pradhan won as the county legislator again. He got 1724 votes while his Republican opponent George Hoehmann got 1462 votes.

Four parties -- Democratic Party, Independence Party, Conservative Party and Working Families Party -- endorsed Pradhan.

Pradahan, the highest ranking elected Indian American in the state, began his legislative career in 1997. In 1999 he was re-elected with 68 per cent of the votes for a four-year term.

There are around 10,000 voters in his 14th District of Clarkstown. But less than 40 per cent voted.

George Joseph New Jersey