Indian-American Candidates Poised for Historic Victory

Monday, 05 Nov 2012 12:23 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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The social and political concerns of India and Indian-Americans may soon carry more weight in Washington.

Six Indian-American candidates are vying for seats in the House of Representatives and recent polls and political websites are leaning towards four of them to win.

Ami Bera, a Democrat from California’s 7th Congressional District, is being tapped for victory after getting a nod from the influential Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

Bera, running against incumbent Republican Dan Lungren, has also had better luck in funding his candidacy, raising more than $3 million in contrast to Lungren’s $2.3 million war chest. He also has the endorsement of Bill Clinton who has been stumping for him.

In California’s 9th Congressional District, Republican Ranjit “Ricky’’ Gill, the son of immigrants from India and Uganda, has been making waves as he faces Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney.

“I’m in this race because I want to be an advocate for a community that has been neglected,” Gill, A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Princeton now completing law school at Berkeley, told The Washington Post.

Roll Call has predicted an upset victory for Gill, who has been endorsed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

In Michigan, Dr. Syed Taj, a Democrat, appears to have the edge over Republican Kerry Bentivoli in the race for the state’s 11th Congressional District seat.

"The libertarian Bentivolio is an odd fit for the district, to say the least . . . This race is a mess, and it is probably only the GOP tilt of the district that is saving the GOP here," Real Clear Politics said.

In Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District, Iraq war veteran Dr. Manan Trivedi of the Democratic Party is in a hot contest against incumbent Republican Rep. Jim Gerlach.

Trivedi has received a “Lean Republican” designation by The New York Times and Center for Politics as well as a “Likely Republican” by Cook Politics and Real Clear Politics.

Only two Indian-Americans have ever been elected to Congress: Dalip Singh Saund to the House of Representatives in 1957 and Piyush “Bobby’’ Jindal, who is the governor of Louisiana.

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