When one clicks on Dr. Sapan Shah’s campaign website for his Republican primary race for the U.S. Congress from the 10th District of Illinois, you see a wonderful video of a family celebrating Christmas. Dr. Shah and his wife, Rachna, greet parents, relatives and friends, exchange gifts, remember his childhood, his graduation from medical school and law school, all in the backdrop of a beautiful Christmas tree and a table laden with choice dishes. That approximately one minute video reveals much about the man who promises “to bring real world experience and common sense to Washington, D.C.” – that he is proud of his Indian heritage, his qualifications and accomplishments, and has weathered some mishaps, like the flooding of his house twice over the years.
The Republican primary is scheduled for March 20, and Shah will be competing against two other Republicans who have announced their candidacy so far and are vying for the party’s endorsement. They are Highland Park activist and lawyer Jeremy Wynes who declared in May. Wynes has also worked for the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee, AIPAC, and is responsible for launching the Chicago office of the Republican Jewish Coalition. The other candidate is Doug Bennett, a computer consultant and vice chair of West Deerfield Township Republicans.
The District 10 seat is currently held by Democrat Brad Schneider, and were Shah to win in the primary, he may have a challenge defeating the three-term incumbent who is unopposed for the Democratic primary.
Crain’s Chicago Business describes Dr. Shah as the “Number 1” candidate of the three Republicans vying for party support, in what is considered an expensive race for Congress. “Many insiders believe unseating him (Brad Schneider) now is a real long shot, given how 2018 is shaping up. But political predictions are risky nowadays,” Crain’s said. The same report said that as of early November, Dr. Shah has retained Core Strategy Group and local consultant Scott McPherson for his campaign, and that he had raised $310,000 till then, including $100,000 of his own money. That is the highest amount of the three candidates. Wynes had raised $260,000, and Bennett $125,000 by that date, Crain’s reported.
Dr. Shah runs a malpractice insurance brokerage he founded in 2007, Flagship Healthcare, which according to his website, supports some 800 physicians and several hospitals throughout the country. Shah plans to term-limit himself to a maximum of 6 years on Capitol Hill, “and then pass the torch on to the next citizen legislator.”
Born in Waukegan in 1980, Dr. Shah was brought up in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was accepted into a prestigious direct medical program at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, where he graduated magna cum laude in just two years. He went on to earn his law degree in two years and his medical degree in four.
Shah is married to Rachna, also a graduate in medicine. They attended undergrad and medical school together and married in 2005, soon after which the couple moved back home to Chicago.
Shah also serves as membership chair for Hyde Park Angels, an early stage investment group. He has invested in twenty-five start-ups over the past three years, according to his website. He is admitted to the Illinois Bar, and serves on the Board of Advisors for Burke Medical Research Institute. He is active in his Hindu Temple in Des Plaines.