1256 GMT January 19, 2019
Anna Eskamani, Anna Kaplan and Zahra Karinshak were elected to the Florida State House, New York State Senate and Georgia State Senate, respectively, becoming the first Iranian-Americans to win such seats in the three states.
Of the five Iranian-American candidates endorsed by the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC), four were successful in their campaigns. These women were elected to the New York, Georgia, and Florida state legislatures, and Sam Hamadani, the first Iranian-American judge to be elected in North Carolina.
Anna Eskamani was elected to the Florida House District 47. She ran against Republican Stockton Reeves to replace Rep. Mike Miller in what was described as a hotly-contested race. District 47 includes Orlando and Winter Park.
“Together we’ve made history, in not only challenging the status quo and flipping a competitive state house seat – but in also electing the first Iranian-American to any public office in Florida,” Eskamani wrote in an email announcement after winning the election.
Anna Kaplan, the democratic challenger for New York's 7th Senate District, was able to pull ahead of her opponent in one of New York's most critical state races. Unofficial results show that Councilwoman Kaplan won the district with 54 percent of the vote while her opponent earned 45 percent. Her success places her as the first Iranian-American elected to a New York State legislature.
Zahra Karinshak ran an impressive campaign for Georgia State Senate’s 48th District, ultimately allowing her to become the first Iranian-American elected to a Georgia state legislature. Karinshak won the seat with 53 percent of the vote according to unofficial results. Her opponent received 47 percent.
Her campaign has been endorsed by former president Barack Obama, VoteVets.org, Georgia's WIN List, Georgia Equality, and many more officials and organizations.
Sam Hamadani is the first Iranian-American judge elected in North Carolina. She ran unopposed to keep her seat as a judge for the Wake County District Court, a position she was originally appointed to by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper.
Having worked in the office of Senator Joe Biden, the North Carolina Department of Justice, and as a public defender, Hamadani has an in-depth background in public service. Her goal as a judge is to find a balance between protecting the community and respecting the rights of citizens. Hamadani is widely respected by her peers, having received the highest number of votes among over twenty highly qualified candidates in a recent Wake County Bar election.
Democrats on Tuesday won their first majority in the US House of Representatives since 2010, while Republicans appeared likely to expand their two-seat advantage in the US Senate.
Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) contributed to this story.