Indian-American state Senator Vin Gopal has secured a third term in the New Jersey Senate, marking the most expensive legislative races in the state’s history. The 38-year-old Democrat Senator emerged victorious over his Republican rival, Steve Dnistrian, clinching nearly 60 percent of the vote and aiding in the shift of control for both of the district’s Assembly seats to Democrats.
Gopal, who is currently the youngest member of the New Jersey State Senate, is the first South-Asian American to be elected to the Senate in the state’s history, according to his campaign. The legislative elections were held in at least 37 states of the US, with New Jersey’s legislature comprising the state Senate and Assembly, totalling 120 members from 40 districts. Each district has one representative in the Senate and two in the Assembly serving four- and two-year terms.
The Republican-leaning 11th District was a focal point for the Republicans this year, with hopes of a campaign that centered on offshore wind and LGBTQ issues in schools potentially impacting the Democrats. Gopal’s seat in the district was among the top targets of the Republican Party this year, as reported.
The election campaign was noted as one of the most expensive legislative races in state history. By October, Democrats had raised USD 3.4 million and spent USD 3.5 million, while Republicans had raised only USD 460,339 and spent USD 444,970. Several outside groups also poured money into the battle.
Having first been elected in 2017 and reelected in 2021, Gopal received 58 percent of the vote, attributing his success to his constituent services and bipartisanship. He was quoted as expressing his gratitude for making history after the results were announced.
Gopal currently chairs the Senate Education Committee and is the Senate Majority Conference Leader. He had previously served as the Chair of the Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, and is the Vice-Chair of the Senate Government, Wagering, Tourism & Historic Preservation Committee while also being a member of the Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, he established a districtwide organization of business, community, church, and nonprofit leaders to address the challenges posed by the coronavirus to the local economy. Born and raised in New Jersey, Gopal holds a Masters in Public Administration from Rutgers University and a bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)