Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi for 2026 Senate run?

New York: Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi is planning to run for the US Senate in 2026, according to a top US magazine that has placed the representative in the list of 50 most powerful in Chicago, a city in Illinois state.

Born in New Delhi to parents from Tamil Nadu and raised in Illinois, the Democrat was ranked number 24 in Chicago Magazine’s “heavy hitters” list, which was topped by Illinois Governor J B Pritzker.

Elected to Congress in 2016, the 50-year-old is now in his fourth term representing Illinois’ 8th District, which includes Chicago’s west and northwest suburbs as well as the 41st ward of the city.

“Krishnamoorthi… who used his former perch as chairman of a House Oversight subcommittee to investigate everything from the Washington Commanders to the baby formula shortage, has $14.4 million in his campaign coffers,” the magazine said.

The amount, according to the magazine, is more than three times as much as any other congressional representative from Illinois, and the third-highest total in the entire Congress.

In 2022, he donated $460,000 to Democratic candidates and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

As of now, he is “stockpiling his campaign cash to run for the Senate in 2026” if Dick Durbin retires, according to the magazine.

Durbin, 79, is in his fifth Senate term and has served as the Senate Democratic whip since 2005.

Apart from Krishnamoorthi, several other politicians have their eyes on Durbin’s Senate seat, which includes Lauren Underwood, US representative from Naperville, Illinois comptroller Susana Mendoza, and Robin Kelly, the US congresswoman from the south suburbs.

While political consultant Tom Bowen thinks Krishnamoorthi has been “raising money like a banshee” to prepare for a Senate run, the Congressman has denied it.

Speaking to Tribune, he said: “First of all, I hope Senator Durbin continues… I haven’t heard any indication he’s not…. I’m not looking at it right now, [but] I’m not ruling anything out.”

However, according to Chicago Magazine, “donations from pharmaceutical companies and corporate political action committees could hurt him with progressive primary voters”.

The US Congress has 535 voting members — 100 senators and 435 representatives. While senators represent their entire states, members of the House represent individual districts.

Vice President Kamala Harris is the lone Indian-American presiding over the US Senate at present, and she will be running as President Joe Biden’s mate in the 2024 elections.

A record five Indian-Americans, including Krishnamoorthi, were elected to the House of Representatives in one of the most polarised mid-term elections in the country in 2022.

Last year, Krishnamoorthi was presented with the Dalip Singh Saund Award for political leadership in recognition of his “exemplary commitment to advancing the interests of Asian-American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities in Congress”.

He also serves as Ranking Member of the Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, making him the first South Asian-American in history to lead a Congressional panel.


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