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Five-member Indian American 'Samosa Caucus' remains in US Congress with Ami Bera reelection

The last time there were five lawmakers of Indian origin in Congress was in 2020 when Kamala Harris was a senator before her election as Vice President.

Arul Louis Nov 17, 2022
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Ami Bera, member of the United States House of Representatives. (File Photo: USIP/Wikimedia)

Ami Bera, the longest-serving Indian American in Congress, was declared reelected Tuesday night to the House of Representatives in the US midterm election, ensuring that five Indian Americans, who call themselves the "Samosa Caucus", remain in Congress. 

Bera, 57, a doctor, who was first elected to Congress in 2012, was declared the winner even as the counting of votes was continuing in his California House district a week after the November 8 election.

Bera joins reelected fellow Californian Ro Khanna, Raja Krishnamoorthi from Illinois and Pramila Jayapal from Washington State, and Shri Tanedar from Michigan, who was elected for the first time.  An entrepreneur and self-made millionaire Democrat Thanedar, 67, who was born in Belgaum in India, beat a Republican rival in Detroit in Michigan state. Thanedar ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic party nomination for governor in 2018.

Shri Thanedar, who has been elected to the United States House of Representatives. (Photo: Thanedar Campaign)
Shri Thanedar, who has been elected to the United States House of Representatives. (Photo: Thanedar Campaign)

The last time there were five lawmakers of Indian origin in Congress was in 2020 when Kamala Harris was a senator before her election as Vice President.

Bera is campaigning for a leadership position in the House Democratic Party, Politico reported. 

It said that he wrote to party colleagues making his case to be elected chairperson of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, citing his efforts as the head of its frontline programme that helped vulnerable party candidates blunting the Republican margin.

The committee works to elect party members to the House and its head, who ranks sixth in the party's hierarchy in the House, wields considerable influence.

After constituencies were redrawn in the ten-yearly exercise, Bera moved from his constituency centred around California's capital Sacrament to a nearby one that includes more suburbs while also retaining parts of Sacramento.

 Chennai-born Jayapal, 57, who was first elected in 2016 from Washington State, is the senior whip of the Democratic Party in the House and the chair of the influential leftist Congressional Progressive Caucus. She has been a strong critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Ro Khanna, 46, is also a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Fox News reported that he is exploring a presidential run in 2024. He is close to Bernie Sanders, the leftist Senator who has unsuccessfully sought the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.

Politico reported that top leaders from Sander’s camp have urged him to seek the Democratic Party nomination if President Joe Biden does not run again. A second-generation Indian American, he was born in Philadelphia and has a law degree from Yale University.

Raja Krishnamoorthi, 49, who was born in New Delhi is politically a centrist and was a technology entrepreneur. He has worked with former President Barack Obama’s campaigns for senator and president.

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