Largely Split Among Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, Indian Americans Give $3 Million to 2020 Presidential Campaigns

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LOS ANGELES– Largely split among Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, Indian Americans have contributed more than $3 million to 2020 presidential campaigns, according to Los Angeles Times.

The newspaper said that on the Democratic side, Indian-Americans are largely split among three candidates who have ties to their community: Sen. Kamala Harris of California, whose mother was born in India; Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a practicing Hindu; and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who counts a large Indian American population among his constituents.

Kamala Harris

“The trio has targeted these wealthy donors from coast to coast. At a recent fundraiser, Harris touted her ties to her mother’s homeland as she sought donations from its descendants,” Los Angeles Times said. “My grandfather, having been a freedom fighter in India and a very progressive person, put my mother on a plane, a transcontinental flight, which was unheard of in those days, 1959, to go and study at Berkeley,” Harris told about 100 people in the backyard of a Washington mansion, according to Los Angeles Times.

Harris, who is the only major presidential candidate with Indian heritage, has raised more than $387,000 from the Indian American community for her 2020 bid, more than any other Democrat in the race, according to a Times analysis of disclosure forms filed by the campaigns. Gabbard was a close second with more than $374,000, according to Los Angeles Times.

Tulsi Gabbard

The newspaper reported that Indian Americans represent just over 1% of the U.S. population. In recent years, they have grown increasingly politically active, donating more to candidates and running for office.

“Reflecting the community’s leftward tilt, two-thirds of the more than $3 million donated throughout the 2020 election cycle has gone to Democrats,” according to a Times analysis of fundraising reports released July 15. “Indian Americans have also donated more than $1 million to committees supporting President Trump. The incumbent has the benefit of being able to accept six-figure checks into a joint fundraising committee with the national and state Republican parties. The Democratic candidates are limited to donations of up to $2,800 for the primary and $2,800 for the general election.”

Cory Booker (Photo: Twitter)

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii is second among Democrats in donations from Indian American voters, according to a Times analysis of disclosure forms filed by the campaigns.

“Biden has made gaffes — notably telling an Indian American man in 2008 while talking about the community’s growth in Delaware: “You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I’m not joking.” But that moment is largely overshadowed by his efforts to strengthen the U.S.-India relationship, including fighting as a senator for a nuclear deal,” reported Los Angeles Times.

Biden, who joined the 2020 field in May, has raised more than $173,000 from Indian Americans, a number expected to rise after fundraisers last week in California, home to the largest number of Desis in the nation, the newspaper said.

Booker has more than $248,000 from Indian American donors. New Jersey has a large population of Desis, and Booker has long maintained relationships with the community, showing up at festivals and backing Indian American candidates, according to Los Angeles Times.

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