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Vin Kruttiventi advances to general election in Northern California

Reps. Ami Bera and Ro Khanna fended off challengers by wide margins, while other Indian Americans in California lost their races.

Supporters of Vinay 'Vin' Kruttiventi, are shown with the businessman turned politician (center) who is challenging Rep. Eric Swalwell for California's 14th Congressional District seat / X/Twitter

FREMONT, California — Businessman Vinay ‘Vin’ Kruttiventi emerged victorious here Super Tuesday March 5 evening, and will face off against incumbent Rep. Eric Swalwell in the general election for California’s 14th Congressional district seat.

With 21 percent of votes counted, Kruttiventi, a Republican, beat out the other two Republicans challenging Swallwell, who is seeking his sixth term in the House of Representatives. CD 14 is home to one of the largest populations of Indian Americans in the nation. 

The businessman amassed 17.8 percent — 5,246 — votes, while Swalwell garnered 64.5 percent: more than 19,000 votes. In an interview with New India Abroad, as ballots were still being counted, Kruttiventi said he expected to see a much higher margin of victory once all ballots are counted.

“I am a 1st generation immigrant. I came to the US in search of the American dream. And California back then was the place were dreams were made real,” said the Indian American candidate. 

But the state is deteriorating as it battles homelessness and housing insecurity, and an opioid crisis, Moreover, millions of undocumented immigrants pour into the state because of its open borders, contributing, he says, to lawlessness.

The candidate is anti affirmative action policies, which he believes discriminate against Indian American children who generally perform better than their peers. “I am not a political person. But if I don’t fight to preserve our state, who will?” said Kruttiventi, slamming Swalwell for being unresponsive to his constituents and focusing only on DC politics.

Kruttiventi, founder and CEO of A5 Services has poured $500,000 of his own money into his race, according to Federal Election Commission reports.

In the hugely competitive CD 16 race to fill longtime Congresswoman Anna Eshoo’s vacant seat, 11 candidates, including Rishi Kumar, battled to emerge among the top two. California allows the top two vote getters to compete in the general election, regardless of party. With 50 percent of the vote counted, former San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo took the lead with 22 percent of the vote, while Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian took almost 18 percent. Both are Democrats. Kumar took 7th place with 6.3 percent of the vote. 

Clinical psychologist Harmesh Kumar also failed in his longshot bid to capture the US Senate seat left vacant by the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein. As polls closed, Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat, led the crowded race, with former football player Steve Garvey close behind.

In CD 6, Rep. Ami Bera, once the lone Indian American in Congress, handily beat off his Republican challengers, gaining 55 percent of the vote. Bera, who is seeking his 7th term in the House, will face Republican challenger Christine Bish in the general election.

In CD 17, incumbent Rep. Ro Khanna, who is seeking his fifth term in the House, emerged with more than 60 percent of the vote. He will face off against Republican challenger Christine Chen in the general election. 

Businessman Ritesh Tandon, a Democrat, had also contested in the CD 17 race, but faired poorly, earning only 2,318 votes.

In other races, Dr. Darshana Patel, a Democrat, will face off against Republican Kristie Bruce-Lane for California’s 76th district state Assembly seat, which covers portions of San Diego. Tara Sreekrishnan, a challenger for California’s 26th district state Assembly seat, which sits in the heart of the Silicon Valley, lost her race.
 

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