Washington, Jul 11: Entrepreneur Rik Mehta has become the first Indian-American to win the Republican primary for the Senate seat from the US state of New Jersey. He will face Democratic incumbent Senator Cory Booker in the November elections.

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Mehta, a former US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) official, defeated his nearest rival Hirsh Singh, also an Indian-American, in the Republican, also known as the GOP (Grand Old Party), primaries held on July 7 by a margin of approximately 13,743 votes, according to preliminary results.

Counting of votes due to mail in ballots resulted in the delay in announcing the election results.

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This is for the first time that a New Jersey Senatorial race will have candidates of colour nominees from both the parties. Booker, an African-American, won the Democratic primary with 89 per cent of the votes.

New Jersey, which has one of the highest concentrations of Indian-Americans, is considered to be a Democratic party bastion as it has been 48 years now that the State has elected a Republican as a Senator.

Both the Senate seats in the state are currently held by Democrats: Senator Robert Menendez, who is the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Booker.

A biotech entrepreneur, innovator, healthcare policy expert and a licensed pharmacist and attorney, Mehta did his BS in pharmacy from Rutgers University, margin of and his Pharm.D from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

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