Indian Ethnicity, Culture Became Issues in Iowa, Tennessee Elections

November 12, 2002

Author: Richard Springer

Source: New America Media/India-West Newspaper

Derogatory comments made by a Republican state Assembly candidate in Iowa about her opponent's Indian heritage may have backfired on election day, as Indian American Swati Dandekar swept to an easier victory than expected Nov. 5 for the 36th district seat in the Iowa state legislature.

With some late returns still to be counted, she had an insurmountable 6,727 (57.4%) to 4,983 (42.6%) margin of victory.

In Tennessee, Democrat Phil Bredesen, the former mayor of Nashville, edged his Republican opponent, Congressman Van Hilleary, 51 percent to 48 percent, after Bredesen blasted Van Hilleary for a state Republican Party's campaign strategy that criticized the core curriculum in Nashville schools for teaching the basics of Buddhism and Hinduism to second graders.

In the Nov. 5 election, Indian American Democrat Kumar Barve was easily reelected to the House of Delegates in Maryland's Montgomery County for a fourth consecutive term and Indian American Satveer Chaudhary bested his Republican opponent to win reelection to the Minnesota State Senate.