Indian American Reshma Saujani loses New York primary

September 15th, 2010 - 11:23 am ICT by IANS  

By Arun Kumar
New York, Sep 15 (IANS) A former fundraiser for Hillary Clinton, Indian American Reshma Saujani, failed in her bid to challenge veteran Democrat Carolyn Maloney in a New York party primary.

But as a first-time candidate Saujani, 34, a former hedge fund lawyer, Tuesday posed a serious challenge to Maloney, 64, in her “Silk Stocking District”, which encompasses much of Manhattan’s East Side and a chunk of Western Queens.

Maloney, declared the victor with 81 percent of the vote and 35 percent of precincts reporting till midnight, is all but guaranteed re-election in November in the heavily Democratic district. However, her opponent in the general election is yet to be determined.

Maloney has never lost a race in 18 years.

Saujani, who called Maloney “a mediocre but reliable Democrat” during her campaign and attempted to paint her as ineffective and out of touch with her constituents, released a series of attack ads after the congresswoman initially refused to debate her opponent.

Accusing Maloney of not having done enough to protect the city’s biggest economy engine, the financial sector, she raised more than $1 million for her bid, with significant contributions from financial industry executives and technology entrepreneurs.

Saujani, who cast herself as new blood in a broken political system, earlier said she was optimistic about her chances, but if she didn’t win she would “absolutely” run again.

“I ran because I want to bring about change for my district so if we do not win, if we’re not successful, that same commitment to change - creating jobs, fixing our schools - doesn’t go away.”

Saujani was one of a record six Indian-American candidates running for the US House of Representatives this year.

A seventh Indian American, Nikki Haley, who was born Nimrata Randhawa in a Sikh family, is the Republican nominee for South Carolina governor.

Kamala Harris, the daughter of an Indian mother and a black father, is a candidate for state attorney general in California. All but Haley are Democrats.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at

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