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Bobby Jindal elected to Congress

Last updated on: November 03, 2004 12:29 IST

Piyush 'Bobby' Jindal romped to victory from the 1st District of Louisiana – becoming the first Indian American to win a Congressional seat in 46 years.

The only other member of the community to win an election to Congress was Dilip Singh Saund.

When 494 of the 499 precincts were counted, he had got 209,652 votes (78 per cent). His nearest opponent, Roy Armstrong, a Democrat, got 18,032. Votes polled by other candidates -- M V 'Vinny' Mendoza, D, 11,857; 'Mike' Rogers, R, 7,326; Jerry Watts, D, 9,423; Daniel Zimmerman, D, 11,378.

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The outcome was expected, though the Democrats in a desperate bid to deny Jindal the seat had fielded five different candidates. There were fears that all these candidates together may get enough votes to cause a run-off election.

The state law asks for a run-off if no candidate wins 50 per cent or more of the total votes. Last year, Jindal lost the race for state governor in a run-off.

The 6th District of New Jersey had an interesting contest between Sylvester Fernandes, an Indian American fighting on the Republican ticket, and incumbent Frank Pallone, a long time friend of India who enjoys overwhelming backing from members of the community. That has proved to be a no-contest, with Pallone retaining his Congress seat winning 45, 461 votes (67.78 per cent) as against 20,290 votes. (30.25 per cent) polled by his opponent.

Jay Rao, contesting for secretary of state in North Carolina on the Republican ticket, and incumbent Elaine Marshall, a Democrat, are locked in an interesting battle, with Rao surging into an early lead only for Marshall to catch up and pull ahead marginally.

 "I'm looking for a long night," Rao told rediff.com. "If the counting continues till 1 am, I have a fair chance."

At the time of writing this report, Marshall had 275,952 votes against Rao's 204,883, with just 377 of 2,769 precincts reporting.

In Westwood city council, Indian American George James, who was seeking re-election, was defeated.

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In the Illinois senate race, Barak Obama, the new star of the Democrats and a favourite of the Indian Americans there, easily trounced Republican Alan Keyes, who once served in the US embassy in New Delhi.

Though Republicans lost Illinois, they won the senate seat held by Democrats in Georgia. The Republican Party's Isakson defeated Congresswoman Dennis Majette, who was favoured by the Indian American community. The seat was held by Senator Zell Miller, Democrat, who fiercely opposed Kerry at the Republican convention.

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