By Arul Louis
New York–A candidate backed by the Republican Hindu Coalition (RHC) has announced she wants to challenge Indian American Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi when he is up for re-election in 2018.
But Vandana Jhingan is herself being challenged by another Indian American, Jitendra Diganvker, for the Republican Party’s ticket in the House of Representatives constituency in Chicago suburbs.
In the election system of Illinois state, candidates will first have to win a primary election in which party members elect their party’s candidate to run in the general election.
Therefore, Jhingan or Diganvker will have to win the Republican primary to be held in March 2018 to run against Krishnamoorthi in the November election.
The terms of representatives is only two years in the US, requiring Krishnamoorthi, who was elected for the first time in November 2016 to run for reelection in 2018.
Krishnamoorthi is one of four Indian-Americans in the House of Representatives, all of them Democrats. Kamala Harris, the sole Senator of Indian descent, is also a Democrat.
Krishnamoorthi filed his papers on Monday for the Democratic Party primary.
Jhingan announced her intentions to run in the Republican primary over the weekend and Diganvker earlier in November.
All of them may face other candidates in their respective party’s primaries.
In the constituency known as Illinois District eight whites make up 70 per cent of the population and only 12 per cent is Asian, a category that includes Indians.
Krishnamoorthi is the first non-white person to be elected from there.
Jhingan’s announcement said that her candidacy is supported by the RHC.
While Donald Trump was campaigning for President in 2016, he attended an election rally organised for him by the RHC – the first time a presidential candidate reached out to the Indian community.
Republican party fundraiser Shalabh Kumar, who with his wife contributed over $1 million to Trump’s election campaign in 2016, is the chairman of the RHC.
In addition he gave $1 million to Trump’s inauguration festivities around his January swearing-in, according to The Fiscal Times.
A journalist, Jhingan is the Midwest Bureau Chief for the India-oriented American TV channel TV Asia.
Diganvker is a businessman who runs a credit card-processing business.
In another Illinois Congressional constituency, District 10, a US-born Indian-American doctor, Sapan Shah, has filed nominations to run in the Republican primary. The seat is held by a Democrat, Brad Schneider.