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Indian-American group seeks to turn out voters: Campaign Update

Bloomberg | Updated on October 20, 2020

California: Indian Americans during a Get out the Vote (GOTV) rally in support of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris for the November 3 elections, in California, Sunday, October 18, 2020   -  PTI

A political action committee focused on engaging Indian-Americans is spending $10 million in the final weeks of the election, aiming to turn out a small but critical voting bloc in swing States

An Indian-American political action committee will spend $10 million to get the vote out. President Donald Trump keeps saying he might win States where he is down by double-digits in the polls. And the Trump campaign is still targeting Minnesota as a battleground.

A political action committee focused on engaging Indian-Americans is spending $10 million in the final weeks of the election, aiming to turn out a small but critical voting bloc in swing States to support the Democratic ticket and Indian Americans running for office.

IMPACT is investing the money in established organisations including House Majority PAC to support paid media campaigns and turnout efforts in Arizona, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas.

The group, which only spent $350,000 during the 2018 midterms, has seen a surge of fundraising, in large part because of California Senator Kamala Harris’s selection as Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s running mate. Harris is the first Black and Indian-American woman on a major presidential party ticket.

A first in history

With an Indian American on the presidential ticket for the first time in history, and a record number of Indian-American candidates running for office, Indian-American voters are poised to exert a considerable amount of influence in this years election, the groups executive director Neil Makhija said in a statement.

Indian Americans overwhelmingly support Biden, with 72 per cent planning to vote for him compared to 22 per cent planning to vote for Trump, according to a survey by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Yet research has shown Indian Americans are among the least likely to be contacted by campaigns.

There are projected to be 1.4 million Indian Americans voting in November and nearly 500,000 in the key battleground States of Florida, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Indian-American political engagement was thought of cute but relegated to the kids table, Hari Sevugan, a senior adviser to the PAC, said. This is the kind of investment and mobilisation that gets you a seat at the adults table.

Published on October 20, 2020

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