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Nikki Haley to Vivek Ramaswamy, 3 Indian-Americans in US presidential race

There are now three Indian candidates in the race for 2024, each hoping to leave their imprint and advance the cause of 'making America great again'

Indian-Americans in US presidential race

BS Web Team New Delhi
The United States presidential elections are still a year away, but a number of candidates have already entered the race. While Donald Trump appears to be the front-runner from the Republican side to challenge Democrats’ Joe Biden in 2024, there are others who could potentially get in Trump's way.

Hirsh Vardhan Singh, an Indian-American engineer, decided to enter the race late last week, expanding the pool of contenders. With this, there are now three Indian candidates in the race for 2024, each hoping to leave their imprint and advance the cause of "making America great again."

Let's take a closer look at these three contenders to see if they genuinely stand a chance as the race heats up.

Hirsh Vardhan Singh

Hirsh Vardhan Singh declared his candidature for the 2024 US presidential elections on 28 July.

Singh declared his intentions on the now-rebranded Twitter site, X, calling himself a "lifelong Republican" and a fervent supporter of the "America First" conservative ideology.

The 38-year-old is the child of Indian immigrants. In 2009, he received a bachelor's degree in engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

According to The Federal, after finishing his education, he helped his father operate their family business, which specialised in missile defences, satellite navigation, and aviation security.

According to his own website, he has worked as an engineer and a federal contractor. He also describes himself as a "magnet for conservatives, libertarians, Indian, Filipino, Hispanic, and Black-American voters."

He entered politics in 2017 by running for governor of New Jersey. He received only 9.9 per cent of the vote back then, finishing third in the election. Following that, he unsuccessfully ran for US Senate and Congress in 2018, US Senate in 2020, and governor in 2021. He became well-known for his unsuccessful campaigns and volatile personality.

However, for the 2024 race, he cast himself as a contender with the drive and technical competence to lead America into the future.

Vivek Ramaswamy

Apart from Singh, another Indian-American who has entered the race is Vivek Ramaswamy. The 37-year-old computer entrepreneur announced his candidacy in February.

Born to Indian immigrants, Ramaswamy is a native of southwest Ohio. His mother was a geriatric psychiatrist, while his father worked as an engineer and patent lawyer at General Electric.

According to The New Yorker, after his studies, Ramaswamy founded the pharmaceutical research company Roivant Sciences in 2014, where he made hundreds of millions of dollars.

Ramaswamy's net worth was estimated at $600 million by Forbes in 2016.

Ramaswamy, dubbed the "CEO of Anti-Woke Inc" by The New Yorker, is also the author of the book 'Woke, Inc: Inside Corporate America's Social Justice Scam'. The businessman has been outspoken in his opposition to "woke capitalism," and he's thrown $16 million of his own money into the campaign since announcing his candidature.

Ramaswamy's campaign focuses on innovative drug development and healthcare change, with the goal of restoring meritocracy and reducing reliance on China.

Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley was the first of the Indians in the US presidential campaign to declare her intention to run. Haley, who was born Nimrata Nikki Randhawa in Bamberg, South Carolina in 1972, is a former governor of South Carolina and Trump's first UN ambassador.

In 2010, Haley, at 38, was elected governor of South Carolina, becoming not only the state's first woman and first person of colour to lead the state, but also the state's youngest governor at the time.

She made news in 2015 when she revealed her decision to call for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the South Carolina Capitol following a massacre by a white supremacist at an African American church in Charleston.

Her political career took an unusual turn when Donald Trump appointed her as his ambassador to the United Nations.

According to Politico, she had three criteria for accepting the post:

1. She didn't want to work for anyone else and that she wanted to be in Trump's Cabinet and work directly with him.

2. She wanted to be present when national security choices were made.

3. She wanted to be able to say what she thought and not be a 'wallflower.' He consented to all three.

During her tenure as US ambassador to the UN, she was the face of the Trump administration's policies on Israel, North Korea, Russia, and Syria. She accused the UN of "bullying" Israel for its treatment of Palestinians and called for the US to relocate its Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. She backed sanctions against North Korea for its nuclear program and campaigned hard for the decertification of the Obama administration's nuclear deal with Iran.

Haley held the position for two years before stepping down at the end of 2018.

It would be interesting to watch how Haley fared in the Republican primary, given that the now 51-year-old has never lost an election.

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First Published: Jul 31 2023 | 5:49 PM IST

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