Even as the 2014 general elections in the US are still more than eight months away, as many as 10 Indian-Americans have already announced their decision to enter the race for elected public offices, including the House of Representatives.
Ami Bera, the only Indian-American Congressman and the third ever, is seeking re-election from the 7th Congressional District of California. Another Indian-American Kamala Harris too announced her decision to seek re-election for Attorney General of California. Republican Neel Kashkari has entered the fray for the top post of Governor of California. If elected, he would be the third ever Indian-American Governor after Bobby Jindal of Lousiana and Nikki Haley of South Carolina.
However, all eyes are expected to be on the 17th Congressional District of California from where Ro Khanna, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce in the Obama Administration, has thrown up a serious challenge to his own party colleague Mike Honda. Khanna has not only raised a record amount of fund, but has also taken services of the victory team of the Obama’s re-election campaign.
The 17th Congressional District has gained added attraction as another Indian-American Vanila Mathur Singh, an associate professor at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, has entered the fray from the Republican Party. While Singh has little chance of winning the seat, this would be for the first time that two Indian-Americans are contesting against each other from one Congressional seat. Upendra Chivukula, the first Indian-American lawmaker in the New Jersey State Assembly, this month announced his intention to try his luck for US House of Representatives from 12th Congressional District of New Jersey, which is being vacated by his own party colleague Rush Holt.
Chivukula would have to win the Democratic primary this summer to bag the party’s ticket for the November elections. He had lost the 2012 House elections from a different seat. Iraq war veteran Manan Trivedi has also announced to contest for the third consecutive House of Representatives election from sixth Congressional District of Pennsylvania.
Top Republican leader Paul Ryan, who was the vice presidential candidate in the 2012 elections, is receiving a serious challenge from Indian-American Amerdeep Kaleka, from the first Congressional district of Wisconsin. Kaleka is son of the president of Sikh Temple of Wisconsin Satwant Kaleka, who was shot dead by a white supremacist in a Gurdwara shootout in 2012. Swati Dandekar, the first Indian-American to be elected to Iowa House of Representatives in 2002, is seeking to enter the House of Representatives from the first Congressional District of Iowa. She has received quite a support from Indian Americans.
Indian-American Manju Goel is seeking election on a Republican ticket from eighth Congressional district of Illinois.