A12 US SPECIAL India Abroad August 29, 2014
United States Representative Dr Amerish ‘Ami’ Bera, (Democrat, California), the only serving
Indian-American Congressman and the
first-ever Indian-American physician
elected to national office, is seeking your
Congressman Bera, who is up for reelection in November and who easily won
the primary, has suddenly found the
dynamic of his campaign drastically
altered by Karl Rove and his super-PAC
(Public Action Committee), which is funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, infusing nearly $1 million into Bera’s
Sacramento district to defeat the incumbent.
Politico reported last week that
Crossroads GPS, a tax-exempt appendage
of the Rove-founded American
Crossroads, has reserved $3.1 million of
TV commercials airtime in five
Democratic-held Congressional districts,
each of which represent prime pickup
opportunities for the Republicans.
It said the biggest investment is in
Sacramento-based district, where
Crossroads GPS intends to put in nearly
$1 million to defeat Bera and regain the
seat for the Republicans through GOP
candidate Doug Ose.
In an exclusive interview with India
Abroad, Congressman Bera implored the
Indian-American community to step up to
the plate and make sure he has the
resources to counter this challenge.
How concerned are you with the news
that Karl Rove’s Super PAC is dumping
nearly a million bucks in your district to
help Doug Ose, your Republican opponent?
It demonstrates how worried they are
about the race. It really does put this race
in play, and I think for the community
members they should know that this is
going to be very close — a very tight, hard-fought race that we could lose. We are
doing everything we have to do. We’ve still
got the grassroots movement, but when
someone like Karl Rove can just come in
and in one fell swoop put a million dollars
in, that has impact. So, this is the time for
the community to step up.
You had a pretty good haul in the last
quarter, of almost $700,000, and your
campaign war-chest is nearly $2 million.
So, why worry?
Because with a $1 million check, he just
cut that advantage in half. And that’s a
million dollars they are doing against me
just before Labor Day, which is unheard of
— that’s very early.
And, if you look at my opponent, he’s a
multi-millionaire. When he last ran, in
2008, he spent over $5 million of his own
money. So, we have to spend the same
amount of money, and it’s going to be a
The district is happy with us, and most
people, from (US Representative) Joe
Crowley (vice chair of the Democratic
Caucus in the US House of Representatives
and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus
on India and Indian Americans) and the
leadership in the House and others feel we
have done a very good job as a freshman
member of Congress.
We are in the prestigious Foreign Affairs
Committee, representing the country well.
But now, we are down to the nitty-gritty of
the campaign and we need the resources
to fight back.
You slammed him in the primaries by 46
percent to 26 percent. Why are you feeling
If you look at our total number of votes,
which came up to about 47 percent, and
the fact that there were three Republicans
running in the primary, and if you add the
Republican total, they came up to 51 percent. So, yes, I beat Doug Ose, but if you
add the three Republicans together that
was at 51 percent, which we expect, as
most prognosticators have suggested, in a
race which is an even-up race.
Is your district now a slightly more
Republican district or is it evenly divided?
It’s an evenly divided district, so the
challenge we have is that in mid-term
elections few Democrats will vote. So, we
are focused on building up the grassroots
campaign, making sure that we get people
out to vote.
What would you like the Indian-
American community to do in terms of
making sure you are re-elected?
The most important thing is …and I was
talking to (Maryland House Majority
Leader) Kumar Barve — our godfather of
Indian-American elected representatives
— and Kumar’s comments were — and I
believe he echoed the same thing at the
India Abroad Person of the Year event —
that the Indian-American community is
now the most affluent demographic in
America, and (it) has just one Indian-American member of Congress.
And if the community can’t step up to
help protect that member of Congress —
So, we got to build on this and this is the
time for the community to step up and
support their candidate to the best of their
ability. And the most directly impactful
thing they can do is to by financially sup-
porting the campaign.
This sudden huge dump of money for
your opponent seems like an intimidation
tactic directly from Rove’s playbook.
Yes, Karl Rove does like to play this kind
of a game, and it does suggest how worried they are, and they know they have to
put this race in play. So, we need to
resource if we are to counter a PAC like
this. We are going to fight hard, we are
going to do everything we have to do at
our end, yet we may not be able to keep up
‘We need the resources
to fight back’
Karl Rove’s super PAC plans to pump in $1 million to defeat US Representative Dr Ami Bera. In an exclusive interview with Aziz Haniffa, Dr Bera, the only serving Indian-American Congressman, implores the community to help him counter the formidable challenge
‘My opponent, he’s a multi-millionaire. When he last ran, in 2008, he spent over $5 million of his own money. So, we have to spend the same amount of money, and it’s going to be a tough race.’
COURTES Y: WW W. BERAFORCONGRESS. COM