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Indian-origin Democrat millionaire Shri Thanedar elected to Michigan state legislature in US

The 65-year-old raised a record-breaking $438,620, primarily from his own wealth, in the state House primary against six other opponents. (Twitter)Premium
The 65-year-old raised a record-breaking $438,620, primarily from his own wealth, in the state House primary against six other opponents. (Twitter)

  • Thanedar, the scientist and businessman, won from the 3rd District of Michigan
  • Thanedar said that he wants to tackle a long list of challenges plaguing his district, including blight, water shutoffs, foreclosures, crime and unemployment

With 93% of the total votes, Indian-origin Democrat millionaire Shri Thanedar, who ran for Governor two years ago, has been elected to the House of Representatives in Michigan, United States.

Thanedar, the scientist and businessman, won from the 3rd District of Michigan.

The 65-year-old raised a record-breaking $438,620, primarily from his own wealth, in the state House primary against six other opponents.

The former gubernatorial hopeful cashed in on his high name familiarity after he moved from Ann Arbor to Detroit after losing the 2018 primary. His campaign two years ago featured a heavy dose of "Shri for We" television ads.

Thanedar had spent almost $10 million of his own fortune to finish third behind Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Abdul El Sayed in the 2018 gubernatorial primary, but he won the most votes in Detroit.

Originally from Karnataka’s Belgaum, he earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry at 18 and master’s degree from University of Bombay. Later, he migrated to the US in 1979 to pursue higher studies from University of Akron and later University of Michigan.

In a recent interview, Thanedar said that he began campaigning last fall prior to the Covid-19 outbreak and has spent time during the outbreak passing out masks, hand sanitiser and door knockers.

He said that he wants to tackle a long list of challenges plaguing his district, including blight, water shutoffs, foreclosures, crime and unemployment.

"I'm seeing people have no hope. Conditions are really bad and nothing has changed in years. People are disenfranchised. I've slept and ate on the floor, with no running water," Thanedar said, referring to his upbringing in India.

"I understand the pain of poverty," he said.

More Indian-Americans win seats in US polls 2020

1) 38-year-old Indian-American lawyer Jenifer Rajkumar has become the first South Asian woman to be elected to the New York State Assembly on Wednesday. Democrat Rajkumar has defeated her Republican rival Giovanni Perna.

2) Niraj Antani has made history by becoming the first Indian-American to be elected to the Ohio state Senate. The 29-year-old Republican candidate defeated Mark Fogel of the Democratic Party.

3) Also, all the four Indian-American Democratic lawmakers -- Dr Ami Bera, Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna and Raja Krishnamoorthi -- have been re-elected to the US House of Representatives.

With agency inputs

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