Md. state Senate candidate’s academic degrees in doubt

A Maryland Republican state Senate candidate has not responded to repeated requests for comment over questions about his academic credentials.

Rakeshkumar Natverbhai “Dwight” Patel, a Republican candidate running for state Senate in Maryland Senate District 20, appears to have misrepresented his academic credentials.

Patel lists on his LinkedIn page that he earned a”BA in International Affairs” from The George Washington University in 1993 and an “MA in Architecture” from The University of Maryland, College Park in 1996.

The same degree claims are also found on two additional online bios – Patel’s campaign website and an online bio listed on the Montgomery County Republican Party’s website.

Patel’s Montgomery County GOP bio.

However, The George Washington University and The University of Maryland, through the National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit agency – an authorized agent on behalf of colleges and universities that verifies student degrees and enrollment – shows that Patel was not awarded the two degrees he claims he has earned.

The National Student Clearinghouse confirmed that Patel attended The George Washington University from May 1990 to May 1992, listing that he was enrolled but did not graduate: “No Degree – Enrollment Only.” 

The student clearinghouse website provided A Miner Detail with a DegreeVerify Certificate, confirming that Patel was not awarded a bachelor’s degree from The George Washington University. (See below.)

The National Student Clearinghouse confirmed that Patel did not graduate with a master’s degree in architecture from The University of Maryland, College Park, as he claimed, but rather enrolled in a summer school program from June 1991 to August 1993. The information verified shows “No Degree – Enrollment Only.”

Again, the student clearinghouse website provided A Miner Detail with a DegreeVerify Certificate, confirming that Patel was not awarded a master’s degree from The University of Maryland, College Park. (See below.)

Patel is running in the most heavily Democratic legislative district in the county (the Democratic registration advantage exceeds 7-1, according to one Montgomery County political observer) against incumbent state Sen. Will Smith (D-Silver Spring).

Patel is one of three Montgomery County Republican Senate candidates designated after the filing deadline by the Montgomery County Republican Central Committee in a failed effort to run a full slate of Republican Senate nominees in Montgomery County.

No Republican candidate filed for the District 18 Senate seat, nor did the Republican Central Committee designate a Republican Senate candidate in the district by the filing deadline.

Montgomery County Republican Party Chairman Mark Uncapher has not responded to A Miner Detail’s requests for comment.

Patel is an officer with the Montgomery County Republican Central Committee, currently serving as the local party’s First Vice Chair. He lists on his LinkedIn page that he is the owner of “Bethesda Architects,” a Bethesda-based “full-service architecture firm specializing in residential and commercial design and remodeling projects.”

Patel lives in Silver Spring and claims he is married with four children.