Indian-American launches second bid to unseat incumbent Congresswoman in New York

Suraj Patel, an attorney, launched his second campaign to unseat Rep. Carolyn Maloney from District 12 in New York. He is seen here at the beginning of a two-minute video that launched his campaign Sept. 18, 2019. (Photo: videograb from campaign launch video)

A two-minute campaign video shows a young, handsome-by-most-counts, Indian-American man, walking down the streets of Manhattan and its boroughs, speaking about his life in New York and his vision for the future.

Suraj Patel, who lost his last primary bid to oust Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, D- NY, in 2018, has launched his campaign with this slick video uploaded Sept. 18, on his Facebook page as well as on campaign website. This is his second attempt to dislodge Maloney and become the Democratic Party’s candidate of choice in the 2020 election cycle, from the 12th District of New York. Despite having a large concentration of Indian-Americans living in this state, New York has yet to send one to Capitol Hill.

With other upstart Democrats like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), who dislodged dug-in candidates like Rep. Joe Crowley last year, Patel could become a formidable candidate if the surge that AOC experienced, happens with him.

Rep. Maloney, who has been challenged before by an Indian-American back in 2010, Reshma Saujani, who she defeated easily with the solid backing of the Democratic establishment may have to navigate a changing demographic today, those who put AOC in Congress.

Patel proves his New Yorker street-cred beginning the video with “When I was 5 years old, I can remember my dad coming home after working the night shift fixing these tracks. And he jokes to me, ‘They’re pretty much in the same condition.”

Capturing the ‘need for change’ theme and featuring bread-and-butter that runs through the video, Patel relates a moving story, familiar to many Indian-Americans, particularly those hailing from Gujarat, of how he is a lawyer today because his parents worked hard at convenience stories and motels around the country, to make sure he got an education.

Endearing photos of him as a child and his young parents, scenes of convenience stores and motels, all come together to bring out the image of the new New Yorker, pitted against the old.

Patel told Buzzfeed he had learnt some lessons from his last primary campaign, and will be reaching out to older voters more systematically, something he conceded he did not do the last time.

Affordable housing, the Green New Deal, and transport infrastructure are some of the main items on his platform agenda.





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