Indian American Vying for Republican Stronghold in U.S. Congress Elections

A record number of Indian Americans are in the running for Congressional elections to be held in November this year, collectively raising more than $15.5 million.


Indian American Hiral Tipirneni is standing for an open seat in the eighth Congressional district of Arizona in a special poll that is to be held on April 24. This year, a record number of Indian Americans are running for Congressional elections to be held in November—around 20 of them.

They have collectively raised more than $15.5 million with seven of them raising over a million each, as per the latest official figures, PTI reported.

An emergency surgeon and cancer research advocate, Tipirneni is the Democrat candidate for a district that is a Republican stronghold–Arizona has not sent a Democrat to Congress since the 1980s. Tipirneni is running against former state senator Debbie Lesko, who is a Republican candidate for the seat that has been lying vacant since December where Republican representative Frank Trents resigned over a sexual misconduct scandal.

A political survey conducted by Emerson College recently showed that Tipirneni, a political newcomer, and Lesko were neck-to-neck. As per political analysts, the Indian American is unlikely to win, The Economist reported. The Democrats, as per the analysts, are expecting to lose by lesser margin as Tipirneni has managed to raise $670,521 till March 31, Federal Election Commission records show. This is more than her political opponent, a sign that she may cause an upset in the Republican stronghold.

Among the Indian Americans candidates running for Congressional elections, five of them are seeking re-elections. These candidates are Kamala Harris, Dr Ami Bera, Ro Khanna, Pramila Jayapal and Raja Krishnamoorthi, according to PTI.

The figure raised by the Indian Americans could be a record for an ethnic minority in the United States. Congressman from Illinois, pitted against Republican candidate Jitender Digankar, managed to raise over $3.5 million. Khanna, Bera, Jayapal each have raised more than a million each, with Khanna standing from California 17th Congressional district raising nearly $2 million up to March 31, as per the report.

Dr Ami Bera who is standing for seventh Congressional district in California for the fourth consecutive time has raised $ 1.7 million, and Jayapal, seeking re-election from the seventh Congressional district from Washington state has raised as much as $1.3 million.

The other Indian Americans contesting this year are Indian American scientist and entrepreneur Shiv Ayyudurai, an independent candidate from Massachusetts, Aruna Miller from sixth Congressional district of Maryland, Anita Malik from sixth Congressional district of Arizona, Saira Rao from first Congressional district of Colorado and Aftab Pureva from first Congressional district of Ohio. Miller has to win the June 26 primaries to be the party’s nominee for the November elections.

Sri Preston Kulkarni from 22nd Congressional district of Texas is also headed for a primary run off on May 22. While Omar Vaid and Mohan Radhakrishnan are vying for the spot of Democrat primary candidate in the 11th Congressional district of New York. The run off will be held on June.26. Also, two Indian Americans Peter Jacob and Goutam Jois are running against each other for the June 5 Democratic primary in the Seventh Congressional District of New Jersey.

Meanwhile, the others are Abhijit Das from the third Congressional District of Massachusetts, Chintan Desai from the One Congressional District of Arkansas and Harry Arora from fourth Congressional district of Connecticut. Interestingly, Harry Arora and Jitender Digankar are the only two Indian American Republican candidates running for Congress. As per the 2010 U.S. census, California, New York, Texas and Illinois have the highest concentration of Indian American population, respectively.

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