A number of significant victories were achieved by Greeks and philhellenes in this year’s U.S. midterm elections.
Among those who were elected or re-elected in the US Parliament and Congress were Alexi Giannoulias, Eleni Kounalakis, Nicole Malliotakis, John Sarbanes, Gus Bilirakis, and Chris Pappas.
The Greek diaspora in the United States boldly supported Greek candidates in this year’s midterm elections, proving the distinguished political presence of expatriate Greeks in their states.
US midterm elections: the re-elections
Eleni Kounalakis is the last in the long list of Greeks and philhellenes who won in this year’s midterms, as she was re-elected as deputy governor of California, being the first woman to hold this office.
One of the first Greeks that were re-elected was Nicole Malliotakis, who won against former Democratic Rep. Max Rose in a rematch between the two. She is the only Republican representative of New York in the U.S. Congress.
Democrats in Albany tried to throw Malliotakis off the seat by redrawing congressional lines that would affect her conservative majority in Staten Island’s 11th district by adding liberal parts of Brooklyn, including Park Slope. However, they failed to do so.
In Florida’s 12th district, Gus Bilirakis was re-elected, prevailing by a significant margin over Democrat Kimberly Walker, garnering more than seventy per cent of the polling stations and thus strengthening the Greek presence in Congress.
Democratic Rep. John Sarbanes also won a new term to Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District, scoring a margin of up to ten percentage points over Republican Juripzie Morgan and comfortably prevailing in the end.
A re-election worth noting was the one of Chris Pappas to New Hampshire’s 1st District, as he was first to cut the thread against Republican nominee Caroline Levitt. He is one of the most militant Greek-Americans in Congress in favor of the country. Pappas is the one who tabled an amendment to sell and modernize American F-16s to Turkey, thwarting Turkish plans.
The new entries
Alexi Giannoulias was elected for the first time as Illinois’ Secretary of the Interior. He had previously served as Treasury Secretary with the Democrats.
He is an active member of the Greek-American community in the U.S., making his election a significant one for the diaspora.
Giannoulias is the child of Greek immigrants in Chicago with his father from Kalavryta and his mother from Chania.
In fact, he spent a year in Greece playing basketball with Panionios’ team in the 1998 to 1999 season while, in his political career, he had the support of Barack Obama—who was Senator at the time—when he ran as Illinois’ Treasury Secretary in 2006.
Making his debut, Robert Menendez Jr., son of longtime Senator and head of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Bob Menendez, has entered the House of Representatives, with Greece acquiring another ally.
Robert Menendez Jr. is starting his career in American politics much like his father after winning the seat in New Jersey’s 8th District over Republican Marcos Arroyo.
Still at play is the election of longtime District 1 Congresswoman Dina Titus, who is 50.3 percent ahead of her Republican rival, Mark Robertson.
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