Democrats get behind Indian-American candidate for Arizona Congress seat

Sensing victory, the Democratic Party has rallied behind Indian-American candidate Hiral Tipirneni in Arizona ahead of a special Congressional election later this month.

“Hiral’s running in a district that Democrats haven’t contested since 2012. And winning this race would significantly boost our chances of flipping the House in November,” the Democratic Party said, throwing its weight behind the Indian American, who is giving a tough fight to her Republican opponent Debbie Lesko for the 8th Congressional District of Arizona.

Tipirneni and Lesko are pitted in a tough fight in the April 24 special election, necessitated after the resignation of Republican Trent Franks following reports of sexual misconduct. Interestingly the seat was represented for three terms by Democrat Gabrielle Gifford, who resigned in 2012, after surviving an assassination attempt. However there were no Democratic candidates running in the last three elections.

Franks had represented the seat since 2013. He resigned on December 8, thus necessitating a special election.

“Hiral’s strong campaign is clearly making Republicans nervous. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has already hosted a fundraiser for her opponent, and Paul Ryan is headlining another,” the party said.

The opposing Republican Party has poured in $322,419 into Lesko’s political campaign. This special election has suddenly caught national attention and is considered a litmus test for the ruling Republicans.

Tipirneni’s parents came to the US from India when she was three years old. A bout of typhoid fever as a child inspired her to become a doctor specialising in emergency medicine, and she’s a powerful advocate for affordable health care coverage for all, her party said.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who is the first ever Indian American women to be elected to the US House of Representatives, also came out in support of Tipirneni.

“Pramila is supporting our incredible Democratic nominee, Dr Hiral Tipirneni, because we need to elect more women to Congress across the country and take back the house,” Jayapal’s team said in a fund raising email.

“Dr Tipirneni is an emergency room physician and cancer research advocate. She’s hardworking and compassionate with a common-sense approach to the issues we care about,” it said. If she wins, it would mean the first woman elected to the House this year, the second Indian American woman ever elected to Congress, another Republican district won by a Democrat and a massive defeat for President Donald Trump’s agenda, it said.

The Democratic Party also sent a last minute fundraising email for Tipirneni.

Tipirneni’s father was a structural engineer in Ohio, where she and her brother were raised in a working-class suburb of Cleveland. Her mother is a social worker.

Tipirneni exuded confidence in winning the seat.

“Frankly, we’re getting a lot of folks who are Republicans and just feeling a little frustrated or maybe disenfranchised and just really want to talk about the issues and possible solutions, which is what my campaign has really been all about,” the Indian American said.