CD12 Open Seat: Somerset Dems Endorse Chivukula for Congress

Rush Holt’s unexpected announcement last week led to a little avalanche of potential candidates that quickly winnowed down to three who are the most serious, and best prepared; Senator Linda Greenstein, Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman and Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula. The two women spent their week lining up support in their respective counties of Mercer and Middlesex in the biggest chunks of the district, Chivukula concentrated on making a case for himself as the candidate most like Holt, and best suited for this diverse district, loaded with institutions of higher learning with among the best-educated voters in the country. Chivukula, like Holt slender, formal, focused on energy sources and wonky, is an electrical engineer trying to follow in a physicist’s footsteps. Chivukula was the first Indian-American ever elected to the NJ Assembly, the fourth ever elected to state office in the country. If elected, he would be only the secondIndian-American serving in the House.

He’s made far less news this week as the two women worked the phones, piling up more endorsements than he has. But today, Chivukula – who ran last cycle against Leonard Lance in CD7 – picked up a favorite son endorsement from Somerset County, part of which he represents in his LD17 legislative district. Chair Peg Schaffer describes the Somerset process as open, involving local leaders and resulting in a unanimous decision.

From the endorsement:

“It ultimately comes down to who is going to best replace such an esteemed public servant as Rush Holt, and we strongly believe Assemblyman Chivukula will pick up right where Congressman Holt left off. From his assembly leadership on science and technology issues to his progressive record on the environment, Assemblyman Chivukula is without question the natural fit to succeed Congressman Holt. Furthermore, he brings a thoughtful and solutions-oriented legislative approach to the table, which is sorely lacking in today’s House of Representatives. Making the change from scientist Rush Holt to engineer Upendra Chivukula keeps this seat in capable and like-minded hands.”

Read Somerset County Democrats’ entire endorsement on the jump page.

After days of discussion amongst the party faithful, Somerset County Chairwoman Peg Schaffer, Vice Chairman Zenon Christodoulou, and party officials in the four Somerset County municipalities in the 12th congressional district today formally endorsed Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula for Congress to replace retiring Representative Rush Holt Jr.

           “We had a great dialogue over the past week, and the support for Assemblyman Chivukula was unanimous. I am proud of the open process we had and that our local leaders are united in this decision,” said Chairwoman Schaffer. “It ultimately comes down to who is going to best replace such an esteemed public servant as Rush Holt, and we strongly believe Assemblyman Chivukula will pick up right where Congressman Holt left off. From his assembly leadership on science and technology issues to his progressive record on the environment, Assemblyman Chivukula is without question the natural fit to succeed Congressman Holt. Furthermore, he brings a thoughtful and solutions-oriented legislative approach to the table, which is sorely lacking in today’s House of Representatives. Making the change from scientist Rush Holt to engineer Upendra Chivukula keeps this seat in capable and like-minded hands.”

           Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula announced his candidacy for the 12th District’s vacant seat this past Wednesday. If elected, he will be only the second Indian-American currently serving in the United States House of Representatives.

“Governing in today’s global environment is a complicated and delicate process requiring legislators to understand the intricacies of both foreign and domestic issues. Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula possesses the unique worldview and vast experience necessary to keep this country strong. He will be an outstanding congressman,” added Vice Chairman Christodoulou.

           “I am grateful and humbled by the endorsement of the Somerset County Democratic Committee of my candidacy for the Democratic nomination in the 12th Congressional District.  When I came to this country, I could never have dreamed that I would be standing here today as an engineer, the Deputy Speaker of the General Assembly and a candidate for Congress.  It was the promise of America that propelled me to take the risk of leaving India to pursue an education and a better life.  This country has opened her arms and has given me the opportunity to live the American Dream. In 2012 I took another risk when I ran for Congress in the 7th District.  I stood with the Somerset County Democratic Committee to fight for the progressive values and ideals that have made America great.  We knew we were fighting an uphill battle in an extremist environment where Republicans were and still are obstructing real progress.  In 2012, we took a stand in the 7th District when no one else would, and I am proud of that.  I will fight in this campaign for real progress to solve real problems.  I will fight for the America that took me in with only $8 in my pocket.”

Comments (2)

  1. tigerlilli

    I heard Chivukula speak last week and he seems like a nice guy.  Smart, passionate, even funny.  But his politics are so far from the mainstream that he has no chance of winning, nor should he.  We need someone who can take Holt’s place – Chivukula isn’t that guy.  on the political spectrum he is so far left that he makes Mayor deBlasio look like a conservative.

    Reply

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