Sri Preston Kulkarni’s Fight to Win Texas’s 22nd Congressional District

The Democratic House candidate seemed poised to win the traditionally red district, but lost by fewer than 30,000 votes. What happened?

Imad Khan

November 4, 2020

Sri Preston Kulkarni’s Fight to Win Texas’s 22nd Congressional District
Sri Preston Kulkarni. (Wikimedia Commons)

Last night, U.S. House candidate Sri Preston Kulkarni, who was running as a Democrat, lost Texas’s 22nd congressional district to his Republican opponent Troy Nehls by 28,865 votes. The 22nd district, which contains Fort Bend, Brazoria, and Harris counties, is among the most diverse in the country.

But this election year, the outcome was surprising: Kulkarni looked poised to win. He had outraised his opponent (by nearly three times) and ran for the second time with far more campaign experience under his belt. Kulkarni's fight was going to be an uphill battle in a district that has voted red for the past six congressional elections. But allegations of ties to Hindutva supporters, constituents holding Kulkarni to a higher standard, and Kulkarni's campaign failing to engage Asian voters as profoundly as it did two years ago didn't help. It also didn't help that Kulkarni's opponent, Nehls, is an open Donald Trump supporter and the sheriff for Fort Bend, Texas.