“I made a mistake,” admits Ravi Nigam. “I didn’t campaign.” The lawyer/engineer was widely expected to win a school board seat in this month’s election. His only opponent, grad student Adam Hollier, announced a few weeks before the vote that he had withdrawn “for family reasons.”
Nigam, who did not so much as print a single piece of campaign literature, went to India a couple of weeks before the election. And then, to his and everyone else’s surprise, a pitifully small turnout (about 2.6 percent of eligible voters) chose non-candidate Hollier by a margin of 1063 to 894.
Apart from Nigam’s not lifting a finger, possible reasons reasons for his defeat range from Hollier’s higher name recognition (he was on the ballot last year) to the suggestion by some of Nigam’s friends that his Indian name worked against him. Andy Thomas, a parent and school volunteer, was furious that the Ann Arbor News hadn’t reminded people of Hollier’s withdrawal the week before the election; unknowing, he voted for the student.
Meanwhile, now that the seat has fallen into his lap, Hollier is having second thoughts. Politician-like, he e-mailed the Observer, “I plan on preparing a statement no later than Monday.[May 18].” The seat is his if he wants it; if he declines the seat, the board will choose someone.
Nigam (who also has run once before) isn’t sure he’ll ever again run for public office-‑but if he does, he promises, he’ll be out there knocking on doors.