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5 Indian Americans lose out in US polls

November 07, 2012 18:13 IST

Ricky Gill, the youngest Congressional candidate from district 9 California who had endorsements from Governor Nikki Haley and former Governer Jeb Bush, conceded to his opponent Congressman Jerry McNerney, an incumbent.

Gill succeeded in grabbing only 71,706 votes while McNerney lead by 84,293.

A press statement issued by Gill's office immediately after the result said, "I extend my best wishes to the congressman and his family, and I express my willingness to act as a resource and to help him serve this community in any manner possible."

Gill is a native of San Joaquin county and was born and raised in Lodi, California. His parents are doctors and own a family vineyard business. He is a former member of the California state board of education.

In the statement, he said that he is proud of the campaign he ran, and is humbled by the tireless efforts of the many volunteers, neighbours, and supporters who stood behind him.

"Although we did not emerge victorious in this campaign, I believe we accomplished something extraordinary. We put this community and its people first, and we took our story to the national stage. We fought for jobs, education, and a common-sense government. We made clear that the American Dream will rise once again in this community we love so dearly," Gill said.

"As this campaign closes, I encourage all residents of the 9th district to come together and work towards the bipartisan and lasting reforms this country so badly needs."

Harmeet Dhillon, who was contesting from state senate district 11 which includes all of San Francisco and parts of northern San Mateo counties succeeded in getting only 40,000 votes, whereas the incumbent Mark Leno earned 217, 474 votes.

Dhillion also serves as the chair of the San Francisco Republican central committee and is an attorney by profession. In 2008, she had unsuccessfully run as a Republican candidate for the state assembly.

Jack Uppal, candidate for the US House of Representatives in California's fourth congressional district, too trailed behind opponent Tom McClintock. Uppal got 98,515 votes, whereas McClintock led with 1,54,540.

In Milpitas city, both candidates Deepka Lalwani and Rajeev Madnawat could not lead to the two open city council seats.

Lalwani earned 2,924 and Madnawat got 2,361 votes, but could not make to the council seat even after getting endorsement from the Milpitas Post, a local newspaper. Lalwani in his defence said that they lost because of a combination of reasons -- one being that there were too many candidates for two seats and there were only two Indian American candidates.

"The community is not ready for two foreign-sounding names," Lalwani told "Many voters can even distinguish between foreign male or female names," she added.

"Many thought I was another Indian male candidate," said Lalwani, even though her campaign raised the most money and had the most volunteers. Milpitas has a 50 per cent ethnic voter community, but the voter turnout was mostly Caucasian.

"I live in highly-professional ethnic neighbourhood that comprises of, the Vietnamese, Chinese and Indians. I was astounded to read that the voter turnout was only 16.6 per cent," lamented Lalwani.

Meanwhile in Fremont, Anu Natarajan, vice mayor, who was endorsed by California State Attorney Kamala Harris and a large Indian American community, seems to be struggling and stood in third position for the mayor's post. Her main constant Bill Harrison, a councilmember, seems to be taking the lead.

Harrison too received support from the large Sikh community in Fremont. The Sikh community lamented that they had endorsed Natarajan twice, but she didn't deliver what she had said she would.

Ritu Jha in San Fransisco