Viru Patel was nominated on August 14, 2016 to serve the 4th ward council seat which became open due to the resignation of former councilman, Jim Major. Viru Patel, who has served 20 different organizations for more than 25 years, has served on the council ward for the last three months as an interim councilman. In order to complete the remainder of the one year term, he filed his reelection application in early October. After his filing, two other opponents filed against him: Rupasinghe from the Republican Party and Kalamdani as an Independent. To begin the campaign, Patel’s campaign headquarters was set up at the address of 1141 Green Street, Iselin, NJ 08830 (CPA M.C. Shah’s Office) which constantly had 310 volunteers working for the last three months in the building. Then the real campaign began. In the final week of September, Viru Patel held a large fundraiser at Royal Albert’s Palace. At that time, more than 300 businessmen and community leaders came to support his fundraiser. Three rallies were held, each consisting of 100200 area residents supporting him jubilantly. His team also made phone calls to every voter’s house in the 4th ward at least twice each. In addition, Viru Patel, with his friends, Mayor McCormac, several Council members, and Congressman Frank Pallone, joined together to walk door to door to meet the voters individually.
From this, more than about 1,000 lawn signs and 250 large post signs were installed at various locations throughout the township for Viru Patel. They completed their visits to the residents of the 4th ward before the election. For documented campaigning, they organized three different mailing flyers which went out to every resident of the entire ward. The first flyer type outlined the achievements of the Mayor McCormac and his administration. The second flyer type described the endorsement Mayor McCormac and former Councilman Jim Major. The last flyer type explained the education, experience, and community services of Viru Patel. These flyers were also distributed by the team members walking door to door throughout the ward. All of the online media types were also utilized by the entire team to reach out to the prospective voters. During the final week prior to the election, they held two large meetings at the Chowpatty restaurant to form different committees to carry out the work on the election.
When Election Day came around, more than 200 friends and volunteers dedicatedly worked just to make sure that Viru Patel won the election with a landslide. The Chowpatty restaurant was opened up as an Election Day headquarters for the volunteers and the area residents as an election help center. Every polling station had at least 610 volunteers working throughout the day of the election to avoid irregularities. All day, Viru Patel’s team had all hands on deck working to have a successful day.
As a result, Viru Patel got 4,151 votes and his opponents, Mrs. Kalamdani as an Independent, received 336 votes and the Republican candidate, Rupasinghe, got 1,600 votes. Patel even beat his opponents in their own home districts with great margins.
Once the polling stations closed and the election was officially over at 8:00pm, all of the friends, family and volunteers of Viru Patel jam packed the Columbian Club on Route 27 in Iselin, NJ. They all enjoyed the food and refreshments. As the results poured in, Mayor McCormac proudly placed them on scoreboards and everyone cheered and chanted Viru’s name. Before 9:00pm, almost all of the districts reported and Viru Patel was officially elected as the first South Asian American on the Woodbridge Council. Along with him, another McCormac team member, Akshar Sidana, was also elected as the first South Asian to be serving on the Board of Education of Woodbridge, NJ. The other two members of the team, Jonathan Triebwasser and Joseph Velez, were also elected for each of their three year terms. Mayor McCormac engrossed the audience with his motivational speeches and thanked everyone for their support for the team. Since Viru Patel also belonged to the IBA, the IBA executive committee, with Dhiren Amin as the president and Satish Poondi as the legal council, expressed their greetings and thanked the guests for their help as well.
The YES group brought in celebratory cakes for the winning candidates and the guests. The event concluded at about 10:00pm with smiles on everyone’s faces. The South Asian community placed their own members on the council and BOE and officially marked November 8, 2016 as a historic day for Woodbridge, the best township in the state.
Viru Patel’s profession is civil engineering and has resided in Iselin for 32 years while raising three beautiful daughters.