Ritu Ahuja Khanna and Democratic congressional
candidate Ro Khanna at his campaign event in May.

CONGRESS | 17TH DISTRICT | It’s one race Democratic congressional candidate Ro Khanna did win.

On Saturday, Khanna married long-time, on-and-off girlfriend, Ritu Ahuja in Cleveland. The wedding announcement appeared in the Sunday New York Times “Vows” section.

At an event last May announcing Khanna’s second run for the Seventeenth Congressional District seat held by Democratic Rep. Mike Honda, Ahuja described her relationship with Khanna:

“Our courtship can be summed up as a first attempt that barely counted,” Ahuja told Khanna’s supporters in Santa Clara. “A second attempt that came quite close and third attempted that recently landed Ro on one knee, finally getting the response he wanted when he asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. I guess, the third time is a charm and Ro never gives up on what truly matters to him.”

The shedding of Khanna’s bachelorhood may bring a different dynamic to next year’s potential hard-fought rematch with Honda. But, the road to the altar was also far from easy for Khanna, according to his new bride.

The long-distance relationship for both resumed over the past year and a half, Ahuja said in May. “Our relationship also began with a dream” Mutual friends in 2007 had a dream they were together and happy, she said. Khanna and Ahuja went on their first date when he visited his brother in New York. “Ro will tell anyone who asks, it was love at first sight. For me, it wasn’t quite as easy.”

She said there was something unique and special about him. Later, though, she suspected Khanna was angling for a way way back to New York for a second date. Khanna subsequently asked her to spend the rest of life with him, she said. “Knowing Ro now, that wasn’t as surprising as it was at the time.” She admits now he had a vision for their future they should could not see then. But, the relationship fizzled early.

Khanna periodically made contact with Ahuja over the years. She believes the emails were attempts to “take the temperature of the situation and stay on my radar, I suppose.” Sometimes Khanna would send her links of his campaign’s press coverage mistakenly believing that would lure me to him, she said. “Truly the man does not give up when something matters to him.”

Nineteen months after their second relationship, they reunited on long-distance relationship, but again, went their separate ways after one year. After four years, Khanna asked her out again during a blizzard in New York City. “I began noticing he had become a more certain version of the man I had remembered,” she added.

Khanna’s long campaign for the Seventeenth District, while successful, came up just short of upsetting the incumbent Honda last November, but Ahuja says, the campaign strengthened her bond with Khanna. Shortly after the fall election last year, Khanna proposed.

In a traditional Indian wedding, Khanna and Ahuja wed last Saturday at Severance Hall in Cleveland, the home of the city’s symphony.