BY VEENA RAO
Democrat Dr. Ravindra Kumar, who gained recognition as the first Indian-American in Georgia to win a primary election, came within 1200 votes of unseating long time incumbent, Republican Louise Radloff in a close, exciting race for the Gwinnett County Board of Education (District 5). Around 700 votes were yet to be counted at the time of going to the press.
In a county race that was a complete sweep for Republicans, the spirited fight put up by Dr. Kumar, a complete political novice, gained the appreciation of the Democratic Party officers.
“The party president has suggested that I consider running in the 2010 elections at the state level,” said Dr. Kumar.
Analyzing reasons for his narrow loss, Dr. Kumar said: “The Democratic Party President said that I lost the race due to a low voter turnout. In the 2004 Presidential election the voter turnout was 80%, and this election the Secretary of State had predicated a 90-92% turnout. Unfortunately, the actual voter turnout this time was 67%.”
Dr. Kumar also felt that a few more volunteers and financial support from the Indian communities would have helped change the outcome of the election.
While his opponent Radloff, (who has been on the Gwinnett County School Board for over 36 years), was highly visible at Indian community events, Dr. Kumar’s fresh outlook gained the support of the Gwinnett County Association of Educators and the United School Employees Association, which represent teachers and bus drivers respectively.
Dr. Kumar is a faculty member and researcher at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta. He lives with his wife Mina and teenage sons Ritesh and Saket in Gwinnett County’s District 5 area.