Politics

Indian American Congressman Ami Bera is the number one target for the GOP in the November polls

Karl Rove’s Crossroads bets big on unseating Bera from California.

By Sujeet Rajan

NEW YORK: The Republicans are going hard after the lone Indian American Congressman in the US House of Representatives: Ami Bera – to unseat him that is.

Bera, the freshman Congressman from the Sacramento County area, is fighting an increasingly uncomfortable race against Republican Doug Ose, despite a formidable campaign chest, with nearly $2 million in the reserve going into the November polls. Ose in comparison has only around $200,000 going into the last leg of the polls.

Bera had also drubbed Ose, a former member of the US House of Representatives, in the primaries, 46 percent to 26 percent, in a district with a strong GOP presence.

However, in a sign that all is not well for Bera, Roll Call, a top Washington, D.C.-based political website, had recently placed Bera in their ‘Not-so-honorable mention list’ where he just stayed out of the “Top 10 Most Vulnerable House Members” going into the polls. Bera was one of three members of Congress on the list – along with Democrats Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona and John Barrow of Georgia.

And now, seemingly picking up from that vulnerable signal emanating from Bera’s constituency, conservative group Crossroads GPS, a tax-exempt, 501(c)(4) arm of the Karl Rove-founded American Crossroads, is pumping the most money for ads targeting Bera, in five constituencies they have selected as pickup opportunities and increase on their 17-seat House majority, reported Politico.

Out of total $3.1 million of TV commercial airtime in five Democratic-held congressional districts, Crossroads has earmarked $895,000 for Bera’s district, with ads space bought from August 19 to September 1. The group’s next largest purchase is in the San Diego-area district of Democratic Rep. Scott Peters, where it will spend $705,000 from August 19 to August 28.

According to Politico, the other targets are: $640,000 in TV ads targeting Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider and $565,000 against Democratic Rep. Bill Enyart, in Illinois; and in West Virginia, where the group will spend $335,000 against veteran Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall.

The Hill, in a blog, commented that Crossroads usually spends most of its time and money on Senate races, though it has dipped into House races on occasion. Republicans are poised to pick up a few seats this fall, but some GOP operatives have worried that Democratic candidates’ and official committees’ big fundraising edge could put those gains at risk. Crossroads seems to be looking to make sure that doesn’t happen.

And Bera is squarely in the crosshairs of the GOP. It would be embarrassing for Bera to lose from the position he’s in at present, given the fundraising advantage he has. However, it would be interesting to see if he can regain his seat under the tremendous pressure being built up against him.

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