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Indian-American Congressional candidates out-raise opponents

01:01 AM Jun 02, 2019 | Free Press Journal Correspondant

Washington: In the run-up to the November 6 polls, Indian-American Congressional candidates, including Democrat Ami Bera and Republican ‘young gun’ Ranjit Ricky Gill, have significantly out-raised their opponents, according to latest fund-raising figures.

However, it would be known only on the election day if this fund-raising power of these candidates gets translated into votes for any of them, thus sending a third Indian-American to the US House of Representative.

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Apart from Bera and Gill, both of whom are from California, other Indian-American candidates who have out-raised their rivals are Upendra Chivukula from New Jersey; Manan Trivedi from Pennsylvania and Syed Taj from Michigan.

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Topping the list is Ami Bera, who last week was endorsed by former US President Bill Clinton.

In the third quarter ending September 30, Bera added more than USD 731,000 to his campaign funds, dramatically out-raising his opponent Dan Lungren by more than USD 223,000.

Bera, whose parents migrated to the US from India over 50 years ago, has now successfully out-raised Lungren for 12 out of the last 13 quarters and netted almost USD 2.7 million this cycle.

“With less than one month to go until Election Day, this strong showing adds to the momentum our campaign has been building after successfully receiving the endorsements of President Clinton and The Sacramento Bee,” said Bera.

“We must keep moving forward to elect new leaders who will put the people first,” he added.

Bera is closely followed by the 25-year-old Republican ‘young gun’ Gill, who has raised over USD 720,000 during the same quarter; continuing a trend of successful quarters in which he consistently out-raised incumbent Democratic Congressman Jerry McNerney.

Gill now has raised more than USD 2.3 million over the course of the campaign, almost exclusively from individual donors. He ended the third quarter with over USD 1.1 million cash on hand.

According to a recent poll, Gill is leading the incumbent among likely voters and holds a 20-point advantage among independents.

Contesting for a Congressional seat for the second consecutive time, Manan Trivedi, has significantly outpaced incumbent Republican Congressman Jim Gerlach in the recent third quarter fund-raising reports, reflecting the tightening of the race in what has been a traditional Republican stronghold.

In the third quarter ending September 30, Trivedi, an Iraq War veteran and primary care physician, raised over USD 437,000 compared to Gerlachs’s USD 333,000.

Trivedi also out-did Gerlach in individual donors with over 12,000 people making an average contribution of USD 35.

This is a “momentum shift” in the race, his campaign said.

Even in Michigan’s 11th Congressional District which is considered a Republican bastion, Indian-American Democratic candidate Syed Taj has out-raised his opponent; which political analysts say is reflective of the things to come on November 6.

According to latest figures, Taj raised USD 168,525 and has cash on hand of USD 158,648.

The younger brother of Indian politician Syed Shahbuddin, Taj this election cycle has raised more than USD 447,000; as against his Republican opponent Kerry Bentivolio’s about USD 227,000.

This quarter, he raised nearly USD 153,000.

“I am proud to have the support of so many of my fellow physicians. Our message about the importance of preserving Medicare and expanding access to quality healthcare has resonated with the majority of my colleagues and people all over the 11th District,” Taj said.

While the third quarter results of Upendra Chivukula, Deputy Speaker of New Jersey Assembly, is yet to come, in the second quarter he had raised USD 440,692 and has a cash-on-advantage of more than USD 50,000 against the incumbent Republican Leonard Lance.

Democratic Party candidate from Hawaii Tulsi Gabbard, who would be the first Hindu-American to be elected to the US Congress if she won, also reported strong fund-raising in the third quarter — USD 414,369.

Being supported by Indian-Americans across the country, Gabbard has USD 264,565 cash on hand as she prepares for the November 6 general election.

So far only two Indian-Americans have been elected to the US Congress. Dalip Singh Saund was the first in 1950s, while Bobby Jindal, now Louisiana Governor, was the second one.

The Indian-Americans hope that there would an addition to this exclusive club; given that some of them are in dead heat with their opponents, according to latest polls; while almost all of them have surprised their opponents by raising substantial amount of money.

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