Patel funds

Suraj Patel, Indian American candidate for Congress in New York. (Suraj Patel for Congress photo)

Former Barack Obama campaign veteran and hospitality company executive Suraj Patel has raised over $1 million as he vies for a seat from New York’s 12th Congressional District.

The Indian American candidate, a 34-year-old Democrat, in throwing his name into the mix, has pitted himself against fellow Democrat incumbent Carolyn B. Maloney.

Maloney, 72, has already roped in a number of endorsements, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

However, according to a Washington Post report, Patel and many other first-time candidates have argued that safe Democratic seats should be represented by high-profile liberals. He added that Maloney is neither.

“I’m not running against her; I’m running against apathy,” Patel, whose campaign team has raised $1.1 million, told the Post. “Something like 75 percent of young voters in this district voted for president in 2016, and something like 2 percent voted in the congressional primary. Why would you vote if your only choice is a 25-year incumbent?”

The Post noted that Maloney’s campaign had watched Patel closely after the challenger raised more than $500,000 in his first quarter. In the second fundraising quarter, he did it again: He raised more than $525,000, while Maloney raised slightly less than $500,000.

The publication added that Maloney stressed that Patel has not done anything to help other people or served on associations or created ideas to improve neighborhoods.

Patel teaches at New York University and had registered to vote in Indiana as recently as 2016.

The two candidates were in the news last month when Maloney said there were “a lot of Patels” on the challenger’s FEC filing report. Patel responded by saying he “didn’t realize Rep. Maloney hired Steve Bannon as her campaign strategist” (see India-West article here).

Patel has urged liberal voters to look deeper into Maloney’s record, starting with her vote to authorize the war in Iraq, continuing with her opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, an issue that could rise in importance before the Democratic primary in June, the publication reported.

Maloney, after opposing the Iran deal for a number of issues, in October 2017, however, released a statement pledging her support for the Iran deal and opposing President Donald Trump’s attempt to pull out of the deal.

“The president’s decision to withhold certification of the JCPOA risks our credibility in the world without doing anything to strengthen the deal. Iran is the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism and must never have nuclear weapon,” Maloney said at the time. “I’m pleased that Congress has recently passed, with my strong support, sanctions to crack down on Iran’s ballistic missile program, as well as its sponsorship of terrorism, human rights abuses, and support for the Assad regime.”

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