By Adil James, TMO
He is running for the senate seat of New Jerseyâ€™s 26th district, a seat which he previously sought and lost to Joseph Pennacchio, in 2007. Penacchio, a Republican, won with 26,000 votes, as compared to Dr. Khanâ€™s 13,000.
This year, Khan ran unopposed in the Democratic primary but faces a serious challenge in the main election. Since 1981, the district has always been carried by Republicans in the general election–however the lines of the district were recently drawn and its current boundaries are untested, although it seems likely its general character will remain.
Another factor that may influence the election in the district is that, of New Jerseyâ€™s 40 senate districts, this one has one of the heaviest concentrations of Asians. Perhaps this will not be enough to sway the election in Mr. Khanâ€™s favor, however.
But Dr. Khan remains optimistic about the current election, citing as evidence the fact that Penacchio faces a challenger from his own party who is running as an independent. Also, Khan explains that New Jersey currently has an extremely unpopular Republican governor whose actions to limit public workersâ€™ union rights have led to electoral anger which could harm other Republicans.
Dr. Khan explains that his background is very distinguished. A physician, born and raised in India, Khan was educated at Indiaâ€™s â€œmost prestigious universities,â€ and also did post-graduate work at Harvard. He explains that he has been published in major peer-reviewed articles here, in Europe, and in India.
â€œOne of my studies, on cancer prevention, is still ongoing at Harvard,â€ he explains.
Khan worked on the failed Howard Dean presidential campaign of 2004, and his loyalty to Dean still shows through in his anger at the character assassination against Dean by the media–which he characterizes as completely unfair.
Khan explains his value to New Jersey residents with convincing arguments, explaining that there are many large communities of ethnic groups in New Jersey without any legislative representation, citing Muslims, Chinese, Sikhs, and others. He expresses his willingness to stand up for anyone who is oppressed, whatever his or her background.
Mr. Khan asks for your support as he approaches the November election.
â€œI have a fairly good chance to win if Muslims rally around me. Of course only residents can vote in the election, but anyone in the US can help out, contribute, volunteer, send a few dollars.â€ He says not to be shy–â€send a few dollars, itâ€™s okay. Donâ€™t say to yourself, oh, $10 wonâ€™t make a difference–no, it will make a big difference, I can put that money to good use.â€
Khan explains that in this current election cycle he believes there are no Muslim candidates running for state senates or assemblies anywhere in the US. He campaigned for support at the ISNA convention in Chicago earlier this month, and he says he was the only Muslim candidate campaigning there–it is on this fact that he bases his statement that there are no other Muslim candidates running in the current election cycle at the state legislative level.
Khan ran unsuccessfully for Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Council in 2005.