How the incoming state senator overcame a troubled past, historic attack ad spending and a lack of party support to win her seat, and what she plans to do next

For hundreds of years, Tai people have celebrated the Loi Krathong festival, which generally falls in November. Participants construct krathong, or baskets, from materials like banana tree trunks, leaves, flowers and candles. As they float them in water, they let go of past transgressions and make a wish for the future.

On Nov. 22, the day of the 2018 festival, Tina Maharath arrived in Bangkok, Thailand, in a state of uncertainty. Back in Ohio, the Democrat was in contention for the Senate seat in District 3, which includes New Albany, Gahanna, Westerville, Reynoldsburg and Groveport. With Republican Rep. Anne Gonzales leading by just 329 votes following Election Day, the candidates were waiting for a tally of provisional and absentee ballots to determine the winner.

Read the rest of Erica Thompson's cover story at Columbus Alive.