More than half a dozen #IndianAmerican candidates seek to enter US House for the first time on November 6, 2018

Except Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi and three other incumbents such as California Democrats Ami Bera and Ro Khanna and Pramila Jayapal of Washington State, more than half a dozen Indian American candidates are facing the hustings to enter the US House for the first time in the gubernatorial race on November 6, 2018. The candidates at the fray are Democrats Hiral Tipirneni and Anita Malik in Arizona, Sri Preston Kulkarni in Teas, Aftab Pureval in Ohio, Chintan Desai in Arkansas and Sanjay Patel in Florida. Incumbent Raja Krishnamoorthi is pitted against Jitendra Diganvker in the Illinois State, where it is going to be all-India Congressional fight. The 8th Congressional District in Illinois (IL-08) will see first generation Indian Americans for the gubernatorial race. While Krishnamoorthi is a Harvard-educated lawyer and a former entrepreneur, his opponent Jitendra Diganvker is a businessman and Uber driver contesting on the Republican ticket. The former is contesting again, seeking a “contract extension” from constituents of the suburban Chicago district based on his “accomplishments” in the first two years in office.

Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi.

Contract Extension

While speaking to Americanbazaaronline, Krishnamoorthi had spoken about his accomplishments including authoring 14 biipartisan bills, six of which have been signed into law. “I have about 7.50 lakh constituents and I would like to say I am seeking a contract extension from them to be re-elected for two years.”

He also told the online media over phone that he is not leaving anything for chance, even though several surveys forecasted easy win for the Democrat. For instance the renowned polling aggregation domain, FiveThirtyEight.com forecasts 99.9% chance for Krishnamoorthi’s win. Notwithstanding the prediction, Krishnamoorthi said while he appreciated the projects, nevertheless, he was not going by predictions alone. “I am working all the way through the Election Day”, he said. Also Diganvker, a Congressman said, “Its a ‘good thing’ that more members of the Indian American community are contesting in the election. “I encourage people to run for office all the time. I just never thought that I would be running against a fellow Indian American. But that’s okay, that is democracy. Everybody is entitled to participate in any manner they wish,” Diganvker said.

Stating that the Indian Americans in the district ‘are handling it well’, the 45 year old Krishnamoorthi went on to add, “We’ll see what the entire district has to say on Tuesday, November 6.”

Samosa Caucus

Krishnamoorthi, who initially won from the predominantly Democratic 8th district in 2016 with 57% vote share said he is hoping that the ranks of the so-called “Samosa Caucus” (Indian American Congressmen) will swell on November 6, as a bunch of candidates across the US has legitimate chance to win. Tipireni, Kulkarni and Pureval are in competitive races and Krishnamoorthi is looking forward to additional samosas, he told the portal in a joking manner. Krishnamoorthi also spoke about Democratic party’s chances of recapturing he House and the likely agenda if that becomes a reality. Like his own race, the Congressman said he was cautiously optimistic about the Democratic victory. When pointed out that the House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi had predicted such a scenario tomorrow, Krishnamoorthi said the he didn’t want ‘to make political predictions any more after what happened in November 2016’, referring to a slew of opinion polls that had predicted a win for the Democratic nominee, Hilary Rodham Clinton presidential race against Donald Trump, that turned out to be a damp squib. “But I do think that if we put our head down and make sure that everyone turns out – that’s really the key – we should have a good night across the US.”

If Democrats win, the party will restore oversight of Trump administration, Krishnamoorthi added. A Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Krishnamorrthi sais the Committee, at present controlled by the Republicans, “unfortunately has earned the name lack of oversight Committee given its silence regarding a lot of issues that have happened during the Trump administration.”

The Democrat said people are concerned that the current Republican dominated Congress is not doing its job and added that the Congress has been almost totally silent when it came to oversight on the administration and the Committee also failed to issue any subpena pertaining to any of these issues. Therefore, a lot of voters, even Republicans are going to be voting for a lot of Democrats so that check and balance is restored, he added.

Key issues

The key issues he was campaigning including healthcare, the Republican tax law passed in 2017 and Trump’s divisive rhetoric are resonating with people. Many Americans feel that Triump’s rhetoric is the source of some of the prejudicial and discriminatory acts of violence witnessed in the country in the past two years. Currently the ranking member of the Oversight Committee’s sub-committee on Healthcare, Benefits and Administrative rules, which has jurisdiction over healthcare policy, administration and programmes, among other areas. If Democrats win the House, Krishnamoorthi is likely to be the Chairman of the sub-committee. Nevertheless, the Democrat also spoke about the Committee’s agenda, if the party wins the House, “One is that we have to work towards lowering the cost of prescription drugs. Secondly, we will ensure that we can work in tandem in terms of opioid crisis, which really is hurting everybody at this point. The Committee will also investigate ethical lapses and self dealing corruption and do our part to ensure that the Government is running an restore people’s trust in the Government.”

Before concluding, the Democrat also said that he thinks that there will be investigations, nevertheless, he wants to caution that they won’t be investigating for the heck of it. “We are gonna run a bunch of Bengazis. The Bengazi Select Committee, famously found nothing after investigating Hilary Clinton for years.”