Vandana Jhingan

Vandana Jhingan will have to win the Republican primary in March 2018 to run against Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi in the November election. (screen grab of YouTube/Asian Media USA)

NEW YORK – A candidate backed by the Republican Hindu Coalition has announced she wants to challenge Indian American Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi when he is up for re-election in 2018.

But Vandana Jhingan is herself being challenged by another Indian American, Jitendra Diganvker, for the Republican Party's ticket in the House of Representatives constituency in the Chicago suburbs (see India-West story here).

Jhingan or Diganvker will have to win the Republican primary to be held in March 2018 to run against Krishnamoorthi in the November election.

Since the terms of congressional representatives is only two years, it requires that Krishnamoorthi, who was elected for the first time in November 2016, to run for reelection in 2018.

Krishnamoorthi is one of four Indian Americans in the House of Representatives, all of them Democrats. Kamala Harris, the sole Indian American U.S. Senator, is also a Democrat.

Krishnamoorthi filed his papers Nov. 27 for the Democratic Party primary.

Jhingan announced her intentions to run in the Republican primary over the weekend and Diganvker earlier in November.

All of them may face other candidates in their respective party's primaries.

In the Illinois’ District 8 constituency, whites make up 70 percent of the population and only 12 percent is Asian, a category that includes Indian American. 

Krishnamoorthi is the first non-white person to be elected from there.

Jhingan's announcement said that her candidacy is supported by the RHC.

While Donald Trump was campaigning for president in 2016, he attended an election rally organized for him by the RHC – the first time a presidential candidate reached out to the Indian American community.

Republican party fundraiser Shalabh Kumar, who with his wife contributed over $1 million to Trump's election campaign in 2016, is the chairman of the RHC.

In addition he gave $1 million to Trump's inauguration festivities around his January swearing-in, according to The Fiscal Times.

A journalist, Jhingan is the Midwest Bureau chief for the India-oriented American TV channel TV Asia.

Diganvker is a businessman who runs a credit card-processing business.

Meanwhile, in another Illinois congressional constituency, District 10, an Indian American physician, Sapan Shah, has filed his nomination to run in the Republican primary. The seat is held by a Democrat, Brad Schneider.

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