Desi Candidates Who Lost in Primaries

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March 23, 2012

The South Asian community failed to muster enough support for Raja Krishnamoorthi to win the Democratic Primary March 20 in the 8thCongressional District in Illinois.

Krishnamoorthi lost to his opponent and party favorite, Tammy Duckworth, a wounded Iraq War veteran.

March 23, 2012

The South Asian community failed to muster enough support for Raja Krishnamoorthi to win the Democratic Primary March 20 in the 8thCongressional District in Illinois.

Krishnamoorthi lost to his opponent and party favorite, Tammy Duckworth, a wounded Iraq War veteran.

Duckworth enjoyed the support of large unions, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and political strategist David Axelrod, according to the Chicago Tribune. Krishnamoorthi, on the other hand, could only muster the support of township party officials and local lawmakers. At the end he was heavily counting on the large South Asian community in the district.

 

Despite heavy campaigning among the desis till the last minute, Krishnamoorthi apparently could not translate the pledged support into solid votes in the ballot box.

“It is not looking good,” Mike Murray, Krishnamoorthi’s deputy campaign manager told Desi Talk from the site of the victory party at Holiday Inn Express in Rolling Meadows, Ill. “With 30 percent of the votes counted, we are behind by 28 percent,” Murray said.

The 8th district is a newly drawn district consisting mainly of Schaumburg, Bloomingdale, Addison, and Hanover townships and stretching from O'Hare Airport to as far west as Elgin. The seat is currently held by incumbent Republican Joe Walsh, though with the redrawn boundaries the district is expected to lean Democratic in the 2012 election. This was Krishnamoorthi’s first run for Congress, though he did previously run for state comptroller in2010, losing that primary election by a small margin.

The community had been upbeat through the primary day hoping to turn its numerical advantage in Krishnamoorthi’s favor.

“The new 8th Congressional District has one of the highest concentrations of desis of any district in the U.S. Therefore, it will only befitting that this district break the barrier and elect a South Asian congressman, ”Harendra  Mangrola, president of the Indian American Democratic Organization told Desi Talk, as the voting began.

“Ten percent of the population of this district is South Asian,” Murray told Desi Talk a few hours before polls closed. “South Asian voters number 22,500 in this district. And with the total voter turnout predicted at 30,000 to 40,000, the South Asian vote is critical.”

Krishnamoorthi also rallied supporters saying he would be their voice in Washington. According to his campaign’s math, only a big turnout by South Asians could catapult him to victory. But the Duckworth camp’s pre-election day calculations were borne out as results began coming in– she had counted on cornering the vote of women, seniors and liberals to her side.

Earlier in the day, Murray had sounded hopeful, even saying, “It all depends on South Asian voter turnout. If we win, the headline to the story should be ‘South Asians Push Raja to Victory’.”

Speaking to Desi Talk Jitendra Diganvker, a supporter of Krishnamoorthi, said they witnessed an uptick in voting by South Asians making their way to voting sites after work. “I could see South Asian communities in all their colorful attire coming out strong to vote and stand for Raja, ”Diganvker added. But the votes did not add up.

Another supporter Nasir Jahangir who confessed that he had not slept for over 24 hours, said, “We have galvanized our resources and now we are gearing up for evening euphoria the election night party that will go from7pm to 11pm at the Rolling Meadows Holiday Inn.” It was, however, a somber crowd at Rolling Meadows as the results came in.

Santosh Kumar, executive director of Metropolitan Asian Family Services said she had urged and taken many seniors and their family members to polling zone to cast their vote for Krishnamoorthi.

Meanwhile, in District 10, Indian-American candidate Vivek Bavda, an attorney, lost in a four-way Democratic primary, that was dominated by newcomers anxious to dislodge the three-decade-long Republican hold on the district. The district is currently represented by Republican Bob Dold, who Democrats contend, may be easier to beat since he won his 2010 election by a small margin.

But as results came in from 70 percent of the precincts just after polls closed, Bavda told Desi Talk he had garnered something like 1,060votes compared to the top vote-getter among the 4 Democrats, Brad Schneider, a tax accountant, who had received 8,599.

Among other failed desi candidates is Khizar Jafri, a young Pakistani-American, who according to his website is an accountant by profession. He ran as an independent candidate for the congressional primaries from District 6 in Illinois. Three other Democrats were also contesting these primaries. The district is currently represented by Republican Peter Roskum. Jafri was not available when contacted by Desi Talk.

Another South Asian also-ran was Farah Baqai of Pakistani origin, who has been a police officer in Chicago for the last 9 years, according to her website. Baqai ran as a Democrat from the 3rd District which already has a Democratic incumbent in Rep. Dan Lipinski who came into office in2005.

Three Republicans also contested their party’s primaries to run from this district against Lipinski in November.


Courtesy: News India Times