Just days before the July 14, 2020 Democratic primary runoff in the 10th Congressional District of Texas, Indian-American candidate Pritesh Gandhi, announced his campaign has raised more than $1.26 million. Gandhi is a physician who has been treating COVID-19 patients alongside running his campaign over the last few months.
The amount, according to the Gandhi for Texas campaign, is nearly three times more than what 2018 nominee Mike Siegel, Gandhi’s opponent in the Democratic primary, raised in the entirety of his 2018 campaign.
For the period stretching April – June 30, the Gandhi campaign raised more than $256,000.
That according to Gandhi shows he is the “best positioned” candidate to beat Republican incumbent Congressman Mike McCaul in the Nov. 3, 2020 general election.
“I’m so proud that our campaign continues to gain momentum,” Gandhi is quoted saying in the press release. “We have built the financial resources and assembled a coalition of partners, like Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Giffords, to flip this district from red-to-blue.” Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who left after she was injured in a mass shooting incident several years ago, came out behind Gandhi during his campaign.
Both Gandhi and Siegel have progressive agendas but the Indian-American stops short of the single payer healthcare system unlike his fellow Democrat.
“Last cycle, Mike Siegel failed to raise the resources needed to win and ran well behind the rest of the Democrats on the ballot,” Gandhi’s Campaign Manager Kyle Buda, said. “We cannot afford to make that mistake again.”
The primary runoff was originally scheduled for May 26, but postponed by Gov. Gregg Abbott because of the threat of COVID-19. In the March 3, 2020 Democratic primary, Siegel and Gandhi came out as the top two frontrunners, which required them to stage the runoff, as no candidate secured 50 percent of the primary vote. Siegel won by a margin of about 10 percent over Gandhi, March 3, (44 percent over 33 percent respectively) which leaves considerable ground for Gandhi to cover if he is to win July 14.
Siegel is an attorney and earlier worked as a public school teacher.
Gandhi did medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine and serves as a primary care physician at a community clinic.
The Austin American Statesman has endorsed Gandhi, saying, “District 10 Democrats have a tough choice, but in our view Gandhi has the greatest potential to move the needle in Congress.”
In the Republican primary on July 14, McCaul has three candidates running against him, Lloyd Coker of the Conservative Party, Roy Eriksen, a Libertarian, and Olis Bahari, an Independent, Ballotpedia reported.
In an earlier interview with News India Times, Gandhi says he was deeply influenced by the year he spent in India as a Fulbright Scholar 15 years ago, working on a literacy and education program and an urban landfill at a non-profit.
“I realized that systems are designed to produce the very outcomes that many of us advocate against,” Gandhi said. “What that meant for me was that to truly make an impact on marginalized populations, we need to have them at the table when the systems are designed.”
“So for me, as a physician, seeing the day-to-day struggles of these communities had a profound impact,” determining his decision to return to the U.S. to get his public health degree and his medical degree.