Six daring desis in race for the US Congress


Washington, DC: As many as six Indian Americans, all Democrats, are in the race for the 435-member US House of Representatives this time, with four of them having already secured the party nomination.
This is perhaps the first time when so many desis have advanced this far in the battle for Capitol Hill, which has to date seen only two members of the community making it to the House of Representatives — Dalip Singh Saund back in the 1950s and then Bobby Jindal a few years ago.
The four Indian Americans cleared for the November battle are Raj Goyle, a two term State lawmaker from Kansas; Ami Bera, a physician from California; Surya Yalamanchili, a former Proctor&Gamble marketing executive from Ohio; and Manan Trivedi, a physician and Iraq War veteran from Pennsylvania.
A fifth candidate ready for the battle is Ravi Sangisetty, a Princeton University alumnus and attorney based in Louisiana, a State which spares an aspirant the rigors of a no-holds-barred primary to secure the party nomination.
The sixth on the desi list is Reshma Saujani, a New Yorker who by far is the most daring of the pack, having opted to take on a veteran fellow-Democrat and sitting member having served nine terms in the House of Representatives. By all accounts, Saujani is up for a tough primary in September.
Tuesday’s round of primaries that sprang surprises in three states saw the 35-year-old Trivedi pull off an upset in Pennsylvania, defeating 60-year-old Dough Pike, a former editorial writer with the Philadelphia Inquirer, in a close contest. Trivedi won by a margin of just 672 seats. Analysts noted that Pike had seven times more cash on hand in the final weeks to the primary, yet Trivedi prevailed with his spirited campaign.
Trivedi will now face four-term Republican incumbent Jim Gerlach in Pennsylvania’s sixth congressional district in November. In his concession statement, Pike said: “Manan would be a much better member of Congress than Republican Jim Gerlach, a career politician who has let working families down again and again. I endorse Manan Trivedi – a doctor and veteran who served on the front lines in Iraq – and I urge my supporters to unite behind him.”

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