Monday, November 5, 2012

Indian-American candidates look to create history in polls

WASHINGTON, November 5, 2012

Six Indian-Americans are in the race for a seat in the US House of Representatives, with the latest polls and mainstream media saying that three of them have bright chances of winning.

Elections will be held for all 435 seats, representing the 50 US states on November 6. The winners of this election cycle will serve in the 113th United States Congress.

Dr Ami Bera, the Democratic Party candidate from California's seventh Congressional District, is said to have the best chances to win the Congressional elections.

This week, the Washington Post put his seat on a "Lean Democrat" status, meaning that he is closer to victory than ever before.

The independent Centre for Politics at the University of Virginia had made a similar determination last week.

The New York Times, Roll Coll and Real Clear Politics have determined his seat as "Toss Up" meaning that it is a closely contested seat.

Pitted against incumbent Republican Dan Lungren, Dr. Bera has outraised his opponent. He has raised more than USD 3 million as against Lungren's USD 2.3 million.

The race for 7th Congressional District seat is one of the most costly campaigns in the nation, the CBS news reported.

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

Dr. Bera is followed by Republican young gun Ricky Gill, in the neighbouring California's ninth Congressional District.

Mr. Gill who barely managed to turn 25 to file his nomination papers is trying to unseat three-term incumbent Democrat Jerry McNerney. He too has outraised his opponent by around half a million dollars.

Roll Coll, Cook Political and Real Clear Politics have declared Gill's seat as a "Toss Up", while according to The New York Times, The Washington Post and Center for Politics, the Ninth Congressional District of California is "leaned" towards his Democratic opponent.

Last month Roll Coll had said that Gill is all set to create an upset victory.

While Dr. Bera has the endorsement of charismatic Bill Clinton, who has campaigned for him twice, Mr. Gill has the endorsement of top Republican leaders, including Jebb Bush, the former Governor of Florida, and two Republican Governors Nikki Haley from South Carolina and Chris Christie from New Jersey.

A weak Republican candidate in Michigan's 11th Congressional District has brightened the chances of Democratic Dr Syed Taj, who hails from Bihar and is the younger brother of Syed Shahbuddin.

What was earlier considered as a Republican bastion, is now given a "Lean Republican" status by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Center for Politics and Cook Political.

Real Clear Politics has put it as a "Toss Up" seat.

A doctor by profession who has practiced in India and England, before migrating to the United States, Dr. Taj has his Republican rival Kerry Bentivoli to contend with. This past Saturday, his fundraising crossed the USD 700,000 mark.

"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.

"The Taj campaign has momentum and is in good position to pull off the upset in the 11th," Nate Smith, spokesman of the Taj Campaign said.

"Dr Taj is the mainstream candidate and is working hard to make sure voters know that his opponent is a Tea Party extremist with a sordid past," Smith said.

Contesting for the second consecutive time from Pennsylvania's Sixth Congressional District, Iraq war veteran Dr Manan Trivedi of the Democratic Party has been given a "Lean Republican" status by The New York Times and Center for Politics and "Likely Republican" by Cook Politics and Real Clear Politics.
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