Former council candidate Nalini Joseph using momentum from 2021 race in bid for Congressional seat

Published 12:01 am Friday, March 11, 2022

SALISBURY — Former Salisbury City Council candidate Nalini Joseph wants to use the momentum of her last campaign to propel herself to Capitol Hill for Cabarrus and Mecklenburg residents.

Joseph, a Republican, is seeking election to North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District, which will include the western portion of Cabarrus County and eastern portion of Mecklenburg County. In North Carolina, congressional candidates are not required to live in the district where they seek office.

Joseph received 13.89% of the vote in the 2021 Salisbury City Council race, closely following City Council member Anthony Smith’s vote total of 14.29%. She said following the election, she was energized and wanted to “continue on my path toward making the community, state and nation a better place to live in.”

“I wanted to keep talking and galvanizing people and getting people to really care about the community that they live in,” Joseph said.

In preparation of her bid for office, she resigned from her position as district administrator of the Guardian ad Litem program, where she served for more than a decade. That program advocates for abused and neglected children through the state’s district courts.

In addition to focusing on her political career, Joseph said she’s partnering with a friend from school to launch an Indian fashion line, which will include clothing, purses and jewelry. The brand will be called Lillian Rosh, with “Lillian” being Joseph’s middle name and “Rosh” representing the first part of her daughter’s name, Roshni, who died in 2009. Joseph said her catering business Lini’s Mahal is also underway.

“A lot of this just comes from gratefulness of being in this country and having so many of the freedoms that other countries and other people in other nations are not afforded,” Joseph said. “I grew up in India so I grew up in a very different culture and I would not be able to do the things that I am doing as an American woman in India as an Indian woman.”

Joseph said she learned a lot when running for city council, including the impact and importance of early voting and social media. But the biggest lesson is to not discount any candidate, even if they haven’t raised as much money or don’t have as strong of a message.

“You really have to look at your competition and what they bring to the table,” Joseph said. “And you might think your message is stronger. You might think that your platform is somehow better. But that doesn’t mean you’re going to get voted in.”

Though a bigger race, Joseph feels confident in her chances of winning the seat. She likes her “little town of Salisbury,” but she wasn’t up for challenging N.C. Rep. Harry Warren, N.C. Sen. Carl Ford, U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson or U.S. Rep. Dan Bishop. But she lived in Mecklenburg for 13 years and has friends and connections in the area.

The first hurdle is the primary, which includes Republican challengers Andrew Huffman and Tyler Lee. Referencing former competitor Harry McLaughlin from the city council race, Joseph said she’s going to “come in at the last stretch and just out-sprint” the other candidates. She also credited McLaughlin for the cross-section of voters who supported him in the election.

Joseph sees her 32 years of experience in the justice system and working with children and families as an asset when it comes to understanding the issues families face every day. Joseph said she’s using the core of her platform in her bid for City Council and broadening it. Her platform is about ensuring equality of opportunity for all Americans, education, freedom of religion and defending the freedoms that make America. The opioid epidemic and human trafficking are other issues of concern in her campaign.

Joseph said she’s multi-cultural, has a “global sense of vision” and understands the politics of the world, especially since she grew up in India. America has to remain a superpower, she said, and it’s important for the nation to keep an eye on the rest of the world as it impacts all parts of life in America.

“The Republican Party is changing its face,” Joseph said. “We are not only Caucasian. We are not only men and we are not only in the older population. We are women, we are Hispanics, we are Americans of Asian heritage like I am. We are young Republicans, we are old Republicans.”

Joseph and her husband, Jude, have one son and live in Salisbury.

About Natalie Anderson

Natalie Anderson covers the city of Salisbury, politics and more for the Salisbury Post. She joined the staff in January 2020 after graduating from Louisiana State University, where she was editor of The Reveille newspaper. Email her at or call her at 704-797-4246.

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