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Three Indian-American Candidates Fail in their Quest for an Elected Public Office

Results are IN and the voters have rejected three Indian American candidates from serving the community. For the first time in the history of local politics, three Indian Americans were on the unusual long ballot along with the candidates for the White House.  

The three candidates, Radhika Pochampally Kunnel “RPK” (D) for Assembly District 2, Sayed Zaidi (I) for Assembly District 42, and Swadeep Nigam (NP) for Regent, University System, campaigned exhaustively till the day before the election day.  All three candidates communicated a positive message for a meaningful constructive message at the local and state level to uplift and improve the quality of life for our unique and diverse community.  Kunnel and Nigam ran in an open seat, while Zaidi ran against an ethically challenged Democratic incumbent who is under investigation by the authorities for misuse of campaign funds. 

Kunnel ran in a Republican-leaning Summerlin neighborhood in an open seat against a well-financed Republican newcomer Heidi Kasama.  Kasama, a former President of the Las Vegas Realtors association, ran an aggressive campaign with a conservative message of less taxation, health care reform, healthy business, and investment environment.  Kasama signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to protect the constituents from any future tax increases.  Kunnel was supported by the Democratic establishment including the former US Senator Harry Reid.  As per Kunnels’ second-quarter financial reports Sen. Reid committed a $ 900 contribution (check is in the mail) to the campaign.

Coming from the family of educators and a commitment to enhancing the student experience of a diverse student community, the front runner Nigam did not make it to the office of Regent for the burgeoning State’s University System.  Nigam ran a well-financed and adeptly executed campaign with support and major endorsements from elected officials, unions, and the local newspapers – the Review-Journal and Las Vegas Sun.  Nigam’s opponent, a bail bondsman, and a college dropout did not have any meaningful support from any of the community groups. 

Assembly District 42 candidate Zaidi ran as an independent against an incumbent Democratic Assemblyman Alexander Assefa and Libertarian Liz Delsignore. A week before the election the Review-Journal flashed the news of misuse of election funds by the incumbent Assefa.  However, it was too late in the early voting process for Zaidi to communicate Assefa’s investigation with the prospective voters.  

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