The wealthy Indian American “is still a longshot, but he is now firmly on the radar,” according to Politico
Ten weeks after Indian American biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy launched his bid for Republican presidential nomination, he “has suddenly moved from suspected vanity campaigner to a contender,” according to media reports.
Ramaswamy, 37, is polling in one recent measure on par with established Republicans like former Vice President Mike Pence, Nikki Haley and Sen Tim Scott. Politico noted citing a CBS poll out last week.
Read: Vivek Ramaswamy enters Republican race for White House (February 22, 2023)
He tied with Pence for a distant third place in the Republican field. And he has become a credible enough threat to higher-polling Republicans that apparent opposition research against him has started flowing, it said.
A top operative working to boost Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently shared on Twitter a story about Ramaswamy paying to alter his Wikipedia page, according to Politico.
Even primary frontrunner and former President Donald Trump took notice, saying in a jab at DeSantis on Friday that he was “pleased to see” Ramaswamy “doing so well.”
“Ramaswamy is still a longshot,” Politico said. “But the attention he has quickly drawn is significant in a primary in which DeSantis has slid well behind Trump in primary polling while other Republican candidates scramble to make their mark.”
“America First without the chaos,” is how Bob Meisterling, a 40-year-old in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was cited as describing Ramaswamy’s appeal.
Politico cited an Obama-Trump voter and “right of center” Republican, Meisterling as saying if the Iowa caucuses were held today, he would back Ramaswamy.
Prior to launching on Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox in February, Ramaswamy was a regular on cable news programs and podcasts, despite being little-known by most Republican primary voters.
But after high-profile tangles with mainstream television hosts Don Lemon and Chuck Todd in recent weeks, a barrage of media hits and an aggressive calendar of early state retail-politicking, Ramaswamy is now firmly on the radar, Politico noted.
Read: Vivek Ramaswamy exploring 2024 presidential run (February 14, 2023)
Even Ramaswamy’s early supporters don’t shy away from the question of whether he can overcome Trump, DeSantis and other bigger-name Republicans in the primary.
During his post-stump-speech Q&A in Windhamon Wednesday, Ramaswamy told a questioner that his campaign strategy is “an open book.” He said he plans to “slowly and steadily” work his way to third-place by the end of the year.
“And then we want to come here and we want to win New Hampshire, and then we want to change the momentum and actually win the rest of the race,” he said. “That’s the plan we’re taking.”
Indeed, most of Ramaswamy’s ad spending to date has been concentrated in the Boston media market, which reaches New Hampshire, Politico noted.
And while money is one thing he isn’t short of, Ramaswamy is milking the free earned media: In the last week of April, he gave roughly 43 interviews with radio, print and television reporters, a blitz that ranged from local early-state outlets to Comedy Central’s “Tooning Out The News.”
The roughly $1 million that Ramaswamy has spent on ads so far in the Republican primary trails only the super PACs of DeSantis and Trump, which have each dropped $8 million to $10 million on television.
But nearly half of Ramaswamy’s investment in advertising, and more than any other candidate, according to AdImpact, has gone to ads on streaming television platforms — a sign that Ramaswamy is targeting a younger demographic than traditional cable and broadcast viewers.
Meanwhile, noting that Ramaswamy wants to abolish the Education Department and eradicate teachers’ unions among other things, New York Times suggested that “pitching himself as a new face of intellectual conservatism, (he) is promising to go farther down the road of ruling by fiat than Trump would or could.”
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“I respect what Donald Trump did, I do, with the America First agenda, but I think he went as far as he was going to go,” Ramaswamy told a crowd of about 100 on Tuesday night at Murphy’s Tap Room in Bedford, New Hampshire. “I’m in this race to take the America First agenda far further than Donald Trump ever did.”
“Ramaswamy, a Cincinnati-born son of Indian immigrants, would seem to be the longest of long shots: He has never held elective office and has vanishingly low name recognition,” the New York Times suggested.
But he is playing to sizable crowds and exudes a confidence that can be infectious.. Recent polling, both nationally and in New Hampshire, shows him on the rise in the Republican field, though at no more than 5 percent, it noted.
His overt shots at Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, whom he labels a visionless “implementer” without the courage to venture into the hostile territories of college campuses or NBC News, are intended to clear what he sees as an eventual showdown with Trump, the Times said.
His brashest criticism of the former president is over Trump’s suggestion that he might skip primary debates, depriving Ramaswamy of the stage he says he needs to catch his rival.
Ramaswamy sees a simple path to the White House: score respectably in the Iowa caucuses, win New Hampshire, vault to the nomination — and then triumph in a landslide that would exceed Ronald Reagan’s victory over Jimmy Carter in 1980, according to the Times.