Chicago, IL. With one of the largest Indian-American populations, the unusually high level of excitement surrounding the Democratic presidential race in particular, and the 2008 Congressional season opening here, Illinois is very likely to see a record high turnout of Indian-American voters despite the less than pleasant weather. Illinois Democratic leaders wanted to help Barack Obama by pushing up the state's traditional March election, so we have a first-term Senator from Chicago pitted against a Park Ridge-native Hillary Clinton, a two-term Senator from New York. Additionally, with three open Congressional seats, including a special election to fill the remainder of former Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert's term, and a race to select a challenger to incumbent Senator Richard Durbin, the Illinois primaries will initiate some long, competitive general election races.
At stake in the presidential contest are 153 Democratic convention nominating delegates and 57 Republican nominating delegates. Democrats use a two-part presidential ballot in which their votes for a preferred candidate play a direct role in the number of delegates a candidate will get. As is the case in many Democratic primaries today, Clinton is virtually assured of scoring delegates in the state even losing by a significant margin on the popular vote. Unlike the Democrats, Republican votes for a preferred presidential candidate have no bearing on nominating delegates. Voters must instead cast a separate vote for delegates running in each of the Congressional districts who are pledged to support a particular presidential candidate.
In Illinois, voters are focused on economic issues and Indian-Americans have important connections to the economy. "Indian-Americans are important participants in America's economy and communities," says Congressman Donald A. Manzullo (R-IL-16th), Member of the House India Caucus and the House Financial Services and Foreign Affairs Committees. Given the important state of the American economy and fears of recession, Congressman Manzullo goes on to say, "I encourage Indian-Americans to join their neighbors and friends to help determine the direction of our country during these most critical of times."
There are other issues of great import to the Indian-American community as well as Jonathan Bedi, a Democratic candidate for District 5 of the Illinois State Senate, "The upcoming election will determine the outcome of the issues most important to our community including work visas, the erosion of our constitutional liberties, economic development, international trade and national security priorities. For this reason, Indian-Americans must make their voices heard on February 5th, which promises to be one of the most historic primaries in recent history."
"The U.S.-India Political Action Committee (USINPAC) is proud to support Mr. Bedi and Paul Chadha, a Democratic candidate for District 26 of the Illinois State House of Representatives," says Michael Taylor, Director of Government Affairs for USINPAC. "We hope the Indian-American community will come out and support these candidates for change."
USINPAC is the political voice of 2.5 million Indian-Americans. USINPAC provides bipartisan support to candidates for federal, state and local office who support the issues that are important to the Indian-American community. For more information, go to www.usinpac.com.