BATAVIA, Ohio (Diya TV) — Ohio State Senator Niraj Antani has thrown his hat into the ring for an upcoming congressional race, aiming to fill the seat left vacant by the retiring Rep. Brad Wenstrup. Antani, a Republican, is set to vie for the 2nd Congressional District, spanning 16 counties in southern Ohio.

In a statement to Diya TV, Antani expressed his commitment to defending the American Dream and ensuring opportunities for all southern Ohioans. 

“As the 1st Hindu and Indian American State Senator in Ohio history, I’ve worked hard every day to ensure every Ohioan has an opportunity to achieve their American Dream. Now, I am running for Congress to be a warrior for our community’s values and fight against those who seek to wreak havoc on us. I will stand steel-spined for the policies that benefit our community and strongly oppose those who kowtow to those against us.” 

Having served in the Ohio House of Representatives before his current term in the Senate, Antani brings a track record of legislative experience to the race.

The 2nd Congressional District has historically leaned Republican, and the primary is scheduled for March 19, 2024. Antani, a Miami Township native and graduate of The Ohio State University, acknowledges the challenge ahead and thanks Rep. Wenstrup for his years of service to the nation.

If successful, Antani would not only become the youngest Hindu and Indian American Member of Congress in U.S. history, but also the first Republican Hindu Member of Congress.

Antani’s candidacy adds intrigue to the race, with other potential candidates, including Charles Tassell and Danny Bubp, considering bids. The predominantly Republican district, favoring Republicans by a wide margin according to Dave’s Redistricting, sets the stage for a significant primary determining the ultimate winner.

Antani says his priorities include reigning in government spending, cutting taxes, and advocating for Israel in its conflict with Hamas. Antani also signaled support for a federal abortion ban, aligning with his previous positions in the Ohio State Senate.