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Sri Kulkarni expresses cautious optimism ahead of Tuesday’s primary

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Sri Preston Kulkarni
Sri Preston Kulkarni

The Indian American, who is a former US diplomat, is running for Congress from Texas’ 22nd district.

Indian American Sri Preston Kulkarni, who is running for US Congress from the 22nd Congressional District of Texas, has expressed cautious optimism ahead of Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

“With Tuesday right around the corner, I wanted to take the time to personally thank you,” he wrote in an email to supporter. “Great momentum so far, but we still have a long way to go to get to Washington.”

He is one of the five candidates seeking the Democratic Party nomination from the district.

If he wins the primary, Kulkarni will take on incumbent Republican Pete Olson, who is currently serving his fourth term in Congress.

READ: Former US diplomat Sri Preston Kulkarni tries to become Texas’ first Indian American congressman (January 21, 2018)

Record turnout has been reported in early voting across Texas. According to Houston Chronicle, more than 885,000 people have voted through early voting in the state.

The early voting percentage rose by 50 percentages from the previous high of 592,000, which was recorded in 2014. For the first time in a decade, the early voting in the Democratic primary was higher than the Republican primary.

The Chronicle reported that the early voting this year is higher than even the 2016 presidential elections.

Anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric of President Trump is cited as the most important reason for the surge in Democratic voting turnout. Realizing the need for challenging the Trump administration, more Democrats have ventured into primaries this year.

Former diplomat Kulkarni told The American Bazaar recently that he decided to run for Congress after realizing that the federal government was “going against ideals” that he has “always believed in.”

Kulkarni has received endorsements from several people and organizations, a recent one being that of Khizr Khan, the father of a fallen Gold Star US Army Captain, Humayun Khan.

“One endorsement that has personally touched me is from Khizr Khan,” he said in the email. “I had the pleasure of speaking with him on the phone, and our conversation motivates me every day.”

READ: List of Indian Americans running for Congress in 2018(January 10, 2018)

Kulkarni is biracial: his father Venkatesh Kulkarni was an Indian immigrant, and mother Margaret Preston Kulkarni grew up in West Virginia.

In 1980, the couple moved to Houston, where Venkatesh would teach creative writing at Rice University. Margaret worked as a systems analyst at AIG.

Kulkarni went to Lamar High School in Houston.

He moved to Austin for his undergrad at the University of Texas in linguistics and Russian. (A polyglot, besides English and Russian, he speaks three other languages, Chinese, Hebrew, and Spanish.)

During his father’s illness, he took some time off to help his mother and siblings Silas, Margo, and Kris.

After his graduation in 2003, Kulkarni joined the Department of State and he was commissioned into the service by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell. His first overseas posting was in Taipei, where he served for two years.

In 2015, Kulkarni was selected for the Pearson Fellowship, which allows Foreign Service Officers an opportunity to work on Capitol Hill for a year to learn about the legislative process. He worked for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, the junior senator from New York as a foreign policy and defense adviser.