Washington, October 18
The upcoming US elections on November 3 could very well see the expansion of the so-called “Samosa Caucus”, a term coined by Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi for informal grouping of Indian-American lawmakers, according to the latest Congressional polls coming from states.
The “Samosa Caucus” comprises of five Indian-American lawmakers, including four members of the House of Representatives and Senator and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris.
In the House of Representatives, senior-most Dr Ami Bera, Congressmen Ro Khanna and Krishnamoorthi along with Pramila Jayapal, who is the first and the only Indian American women in the House, are projected to be re-elected on November 3.
Jayapal, 55, in the new Congress next year is likely to have company from Dr Hiral Tipirneni.
Tripirneni, the emergency room physician is leading, though by a narrow margin, against Republican incumbent David Schweikert in the Sixth Congressional District of Arizona.
He has been endorsed by top leaders of the Democratic party, including former vice president Joe Biden, the presidential candidate.
Former State Department diplomat Sri Preston Kulkarni is leading by five per cent against his Republican rival Troy Nehls in the 22nd Congressional District of Texas, which is an open seat this time.
Kulkarni, 42, had narrowly lost the 2018 Congressional elections. Local media and political pundits are giving him a greater chance to enter the House of Representatives. He hopes to be the first Indian American to be elected to the House from Texas.
All eyes are on the Senate race in Maine, where the Democrats are pinning hope on Indian-origin Senator Sara Gideon to win the seat against powerful Republican Senator Susan Collins. Gideon, 48, whose father is from India and mother from Armenia, has consistently maintained a lead against Collins in almost all the recent polls.
Senator Harris, 55, has scripted history by becoming the first Indian American and first-ever Black and African American to be nominated as a vice-presidential candidate by a major political party.
Dr Bera, 55, who is seeking his fifth consecutive term to the House of Representatives, is the longest-serving Indian American in the Congress. He represents the seventh Congressional District of California. He is being challenged by Republican Buzz Patterson, a military veteran.
Seeking a third Congressional term, Congressman Ro Khanna is facing a challenge from another Indian-American Ritesh Tandon of Republican Party. Khanna has raised a whopping USD 3.6 million for his election campaign as against a paltry USD 152,000 by Tandon.
Congresswoman Jayapal, who is seeking her third-consecutive attempt, in such a short span of time has emerged as one of the top Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives.
Representing seventh Congressional District of Washington State, Jayapal is being challenged by Republican Craig Keller, who is said to have little chance in the November 3 polls.
Democratic Krishnamoorthi is pitted against Preston Nelson of the Libertarian Party in the November elections from the eighth Congressional District of Illinois. The seat is a Democratic stronghold, so much so that the Republican Party had cancelled its primary this year as no candidates filed for this seat.
There are a few other Indian Americans running for the Congress this year, to whom the media and political pundits are giving little chance. At the same time, their presence in the electoral field is reflective of the increasing interest of Indian Americans in joining the country’s electoral politics.
Prominent among them being Rik Mehta of the Republican Party against popular Democratic Senator Cory Booker from New Jersey.
Manga Anantatmula is running for the House of Representative from the 11th Congressional District of Virginia and Nisha Sharma from California’s 11th Congressional District. Both are from the Republican Party. PTI