In a major upset last week, Aneesh P Chopra was wal- loped by state Senator Dr Ralph Northam, 53, by almost 10 percentage points, the Democratic primary
for the Virginia lieutenant governor election.
Chopra, 40, former chief technology officer to President
Barack Obama, quit his senior White House job more than
a year ago to run as the Democratic candidate for Virginia
June 11, with 99 percent of the precincts reports, the
Virginia Board of Elections had 76,411 votes or 54 percent
for Northam, 53, and 64,930 or 45 percent for Chopra.
It was a devastating defeat for Chopra, who had hoped
for even higher office in the years to come, and had out-raised Northam, a pediatric neurologist, by more than
three-to-one. Chopra had received lots of money from the
information technology and high technology sector, including from Indian Americans who had held several fundrais-ers for him and had been confident that he would easily
prevail in the primary.
Chopra had picked up many endorsements — from local
to national politicians — and had also hoped that his stints
with former Virginia Democratic governors Mark Warner
and Tim Kaine, and his high profile as the first CTO in the
White House’s history would make his victory in the pri-maries a slam dunk.
The voters opted for political experience instead.
The off-election season primary also saw an exceedingly
low turnout across the state, which obviously helped
Northam. He did especially well in his constituency of
Accomack County, where he took 17 of the 18 precincts
reporting. Throughout the evening, Northam led Chopra
by double digits.
Straw polls — including one hosted by US Representative
Gerald Connolly — had said the Johns Hopkins University
and Harvard University educated Chopra would easily
defeat Northam, an alumnus of Onanacock High School,
Virginia Military Institute, and Eastern Virginia Medical
Although voters in Fairfax County — that includes the
high technology entrepreneurs — supported Chopra, he
was no match for Northam in the heartland and rural
‘Senator Northam and his staff should be proud of their
Aneesh Chopra walloped in
Virginia Democratic primary
Aneesh Chopra, center, with his family at a fundraiser hosted by Deepak Chopra, third from right.
campaign,’ Chopra said in a statement. ‘While this was not
the result that we hoped for tonight, I look forward to com-
ing together to ensure the Democratic ticket wins a clean
sweep in November. The work to bring fairness, equality,
and opportunity to Virginia continues.’
Chopra also thanked ‘all of our dedicated supporters for
their hard work on this campaign. This was a campaign run
on the idea that we can, and must, work together to move
Chopra did not speak to the media after his defeat —
which could mean the end of an envisaged political career
even before he could get to first base. He told India Abroad
only that he was going to be on vacation with his family,
Pallone, Holt in race for US Senate from New Jersey
United States Representative Frank J Pallone, Jr (New Jersey, 6th District) and US Representative
Rush D Holt, Jr (New Jersey, 12th District),
considered friends of India and the Indian-American community, are running for the
United States Senate from New Jersey,
probably the only state where desis can
influence the election results.
Pallone, 62, is co-founder of the
Congressional Caucus on India and Indian
Americans. Among the issues he has raised
in Congress is the plight of Kashmiri
Pallone and Holt, 65, are among the six
candidates — four Democrats and two
Republicans — who have officially filed
papers to run for the seat left vacant after
the death of Democrat US Senator Frank
Lautenberg. Assembly Speaker Sheila
Oliver (Democrat, Essex) and Newark
Mayor Cory Booker are the other
Democrats in the primary.
Well-known conservative Steve Lonegan
and Alieta Eck, a medical doctor from
Somerset County, are contesting in the