Voting for 2014 mid-term elections begins in US
Washington: Americans today began voting for the crucial 2014 mid-term elections, expected to help Republicans wrest control of the US Senate that can tip the balance of power ahead of the Presidential elections in 2016.
At stake are all the 435 seats in the House of Representatives, 36 of the 100 Senate Seats and gubernatorial elections in 36 of the 50 States.
These States are also having elections for the state assembly and city councils, like that of Washington DC. The Republicans, who already control the House of Representatives, need to gain just six seats to take the Senate.
Mid-term elections have national consequences and the results will determine what Obama can get done in his final two years in office. A hostile Congress might increase Obama's worries as he contends with global issues like Ebola and advancing Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, while struggling to show dramatic upswing in the economy.
More than three dozen Indian-Americans are also running for various elected offices across the country from gubernatorial to House, state legislature to city councils. Topping the list is Nikki Haley for Governor of South Carolina and Ami Bera for House of Representatives in California - both of whom are seeking their re-election.
Young Ro Khanna, who is challenging his own Democratic leader Mike Honda, has also caught the attention of Indian-Americans. The community is also looking at the election of Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu lawmaker, who is seeking re-election from Hawaii.
Latest opinion polls show that people are disappointed with the Obama Administration. Opinion polls suggest there will be a tight contest on many seats and candidates are eyeing on the votes of small ethnic communities - in particular the Asian-Americans.
Perhaps for the first time, candidates also held special meetings for the Indian-American community, recognizing their growing political clout in the country.
For instance, Senator Mark Warner from Virginia, not only attended a number of Indian-American community events in Virginia but also held conference calls urging them to vote for them.
Same was the case with Mike Honda in the Silicon Valley, who is seeking his re-election and is pitted in a tough fight with Indian-American Ro Khanna.
“I believe that Election night will be good for the Republican Party and America. However, it is not enough to just win elections... It is about holding our elected officials accountable,” Indian-American Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana, said in an email to his supporters.
“The big day is here! Voting has just started, and we are out talking to people as they arrive at the polls,” said Kishan Putta, who is in the election fray for District of Columbia Council at Large.
If elected, he would be the first Indian-American in the US Capital's elected council. Nikki Haley made a last minute appeal to her voters in South Carolina.
“We have accomplished a lot in the last four years, but we are just getting started. Please remember to get out and vote today for another four years of Team Haley,” she said in an early morning email.
The Washington Post today said at the end of a bitter and massively expensive campaign, it appears the Senate might be slipping from Democrats' grasp.