E-mail inventor Shiva Ayyadurai to run for US Senate, challenge Elizabeth Warren

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Shiva Ayyadurai.

NEW YORK: Indian American entrepreneur Shiva Ayyadurai, 53, who shot to fame by inventing e-mail, has thrown his hat in the run for the US Senate, from Massachusetts, in 2018. He will challenge liberal icon and Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren.

On his campaign website, Ayyadurai, a self-proclaimed Republican, stated: “I’ll always be grateful for the opportunities I’ve found here (America). Now I’m committed to preserving, protecting, and expanding those opportunities for the citizens of Massachusetts and for all Americans. That’s the new American Revolution, and I hope you’ll join me in this fight.”

Ayyadurai, who is so far the only declared Republican candidate, has been targeting Warren through social media, hashtagging her on Twitter as “#Fakefighter” and “#FakeIndian”—a reference to her disputed claims of Native American heritage.

In a recent tweet, he lambasted Warren for her call to increase federal investment in medical research.

“Warren doesn’t REALLY understand Medicine or Innovation. Her mumbo jumbo is just about throwing $$’s. Dumb!” he tweeted.

Boston Magazine reported Ayyadurai, a MIT alum also tweeted a picture of his new campaign offices on Concord Avenue in Cambridge, last month.

Ayyadurai is perhaps best known for claiming to have invented email at age 14 while working as a research fellow at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. While he does hold the copyright to a computer program called “EMAIL,” historians generally credit the late Ray Tomlinson, who died of a heart attack last March, with inventing email while working at Cambridge’s Bolt, Beranek, and Newman in 1971.

Ayyadurai has sought legal action against news outlets that cast doubt on his claim. Represented by Hollywood lawyer Charles Harder, who represented Hulk Hogan in the sex-tape lawsuit that ultimately killed Gawker Media, Ayyadurai received a $750,000 settlement in November over “false and highly defamatory articles” on Gizmodo calling him a “fraud,” “renowned liar,” and a “big fake.”

In January, Ayyadurai filed a $15 million libel suit in Boston against the tech website Techdirt over several articles disputing his claim, and accused founder Mike Masnick of “publishing fake news and 14 defamatory articles.”

Boston Magazine reported that Curt Schilling’s interest in a 2018 run for Senate appears to be waning, after the former Red Sox pitcher threw his weight behind Ayyadurai’s Senate bid.

Schilling, a three-time World Series champion said in September he was “getting more serious” about challenging the Cambridge Democrat, and wouldn’t rule out an eventual run at the White House.

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