Over 80 PIOs contesting US mid-term polls in November
Washington DC: Over 80 Indian-Americans are running for the mid-term elections in November with a majority of them contesting on a Democratic party ticket, according to a former White House official.
Over 220 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are running for various offices in more than 30 states.
The mid-term elections will take place in the middle of President Donald Trump's term. All 435 seats in the US House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the US Senate will be contested. About 39 state and territorial governorships and numerous other state and local elections will also be contested.
An overwhelming majority of these candidates are running in the election on a Democratic party ticket, and some seeking to enter the elected offices across the country from the Republican party.
"Over 80 Indian-Americans are on the ballot this year," Gautam Raghavan, a former White House official, and now leading the recently founded Indian-American Impact Fund said.
Raghavan made the announcement at a news conference organised collectively by Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) and leaders from Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) political organisations.
"We have an unprecedented number of AAPI candidates. Over 50 that are running in congressional districts all across the country," said CAPAC chair Congresswoman Judy Chu.
"To ensure that we have the greatest impact AAPI political organisations will work to support these candidates and to maximize the turnout of the AAPI vote on Wednesday," Chu said.
Simultaneously, 12 AAPI political organisations for the first time announced launching an online clearinghouse for its political and election activity. This clearinghouse will provide a place online for candidates and voters to learn about opportunities to get involved in campaign activities and to find ways to support one another, Chu said.
Of the Indian Americans running for Congress, four of them are seeking re-election: Ami Bera and Ro Khanna from California, Raja Krishnamoorthi from Illinois and Pramila Jayapal from Washington.
Prominent among Democrats seeking to enter the Congress this year are Hiral Tipirneni from Arizona, Aruna Miller from Maryland, Saira Rao from Colorado, Aftab Pureval from Ohio, Suraj Patel from New York, and Preston Kulkarni from Texas. Republican Harry Arora is contesting from a Congressional seat in Pennsylvania.
Reflecting on such a large number of Indian Americans running for public offices, Raghavan said that the community has come a long way since six decades ago when Dalip Singh Saund became the first Indian American to be elected to the House of Representatives.
"But despite how far we've come in those 60 years; in a lot of ways, we find ourselves at a time that is very similar to the time that Congressman Saund lived in," he said.
"A time of rising racism, xenophobia and hate violence. A time in which a sitting US Congresswoman who also happens to be the first Indian-American woman elected to Congress is questioned about her citizenship on national television," Raghavan said, asserting that it is time for the community to get off the sidelines and enter the game.
Shekar Narasimhan, chair of AAPI Victory Fund called for generating resources to elect as many candidates as possible.
"Why we are doing this. We must flip the House in 2018," he said.
"Elections continue to be won by the slimmest of margins and ensuring success requires candidates to get the 'margin of victory' votes. With the right investment and cultivation, we can ensure a sustainable majority," he