Scoring the first win for Indian-Americans in the US mid-term elections, South Carolina’s Republican Governor Nikki Haley handily beat Democratic state Senator Vincent Sheheen to win a second term.
Born Nimrata ‘Nikki’ Randhawa, the 42-year-old daughter of Sikh immigrants from India became the first minority and first female governor of the state four years ago.
Haley was declared the winner based on projections from exit poll data that suggests the Republican will win by a wider margin than 2010, when just 4.5 percentage points separated her from Sheheen, according to local WCIV TV.
Sheheen never gained the traction necessary in the rematch to close the gap, despite hammering Haley on her first-term blunders, it said noting Haley won over voters by successfully branding herself as the “jobs governor.”
“Governor Nikki Haley has done an extraordinary job for South Carolina; her leadership is making the difference,” the Republican Governors Association chairman Chris Christie said in a statement following her re-election victory.
“With Haley at the helm for four more years, South Carolina is sure to experience continued growth and success. No one fights harder for South Carolina than Governor Haley, and because of her, it’s going to be another great four years.
“The Republican Governors Association is proud to congratulate Governor Haley on her re-election,” said, Christie, who is the New Jersey governor.
Results of other races involving a record 30 Indian-Americans are still awaited.
Four of them are seeking a two-year term in the House, two are running for governorships, three more for other top state jobs and 20 are eyeing legislative seats in 15 states
Prominent among Desi contestants to the House are Democrat Amerish ‘Ami’ Bera, only the third Indian-American lawmaker in US history, and a former Obama administration official Rohit ‘Ro’ Khanna.
Republican Neel Kashkari faces an uphill task against California’s three term Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, while Kamala Harris, the state’s first female Indian-American and African-American Attorney General is sitting pretty in her re-election bid.