Another day, another news of an interesting new Democratic challenger for the House next fall. And this news concern none other than the Ayn Rand Humper himself, Paul Ryan. Now, it was guaranteed that Paul Ryan was going to get a legit challenger for 2014, but it was expected that his 2012 opponent, Rob Zerban, would be his most likely opponent. But now, as Huffington Post reports, a new challenger has thrown his hat into the ring.
The son of a slain Sikh temple president plans to challenge U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan in next year's congressional election, in a Wisconsin district where support for the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee has been strong but slipping.Kaleka's father, Satwant Singh Kaleka, small-business owner and founder of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in suburban Milwaukee, was one of six killed by a white supremacist who shot up the place on August 5 of last year before taking his own life. Small wonder, then, that such an event would drive him into the public arena.
Amar Kaleka, 35, told The Associated Press he'll file paperwork Wednesday to form an exploratory congressional committee. He plans to formally announce his candidacy as a Democrat next month.
That was a turning point for Amar Kaleka, who grew up in Milwaukee and has been making documentaries in southern California for the past four years. He won an Emmy for his 2010 direction of Jacob's Turn, about a 4-year-old boy with Down syndrome who joins his first T-ball team.And one thing's for sure, the NRA is not going to like this guy:
He said he used to dream of running for public office when he was in his 50s or 60s but decided to seek office sooner following his father's homicide.
He cites polls showing that 90 percent of Americans favored stronger background checks for gun buyers, yet even then Congress failed to act. That disgusted him.And while Kaleka is aware of the challenges in facing the well-funded Ryan, it seems he has the financial potential at hand:
"They're more concerned with the groups, the corporations that are giving them money than with what the people want," he said.
Kaleka hopes to counter in part by tapping into the wealthy Indian and Arabic communities that he said encouraged him to run in the first place. If he can demonstrate his fundraising chops he expects the national Democratic Party, which he said supports his candidacy, to step in with another $1 million to $2 million.And such a feet may indeed be possible, because Ryan's more vulnerable than some may think:
Ryan, an eight-term congressman, has been popular in his district that covers the southeastern corner of the state. But his support declined last year.It won't be easy. And nor may Kaleka get a free ride in the Dem primary either:
He won every congressional race since 2000 with at least 63 percent of the vote, including 68 percent in 2010. But last year, after he gained prominence for drawing up an austere budget blueprint that would reshape Medicare, his support dropped to a career-low 55 percent. However, that year he had to balance his congressional campaign with his vice presidential run.
Ryan's opponent last year was Rob Zerban, a former Kenosha Board supervisor. Zerban has formed another exploratory committee this year but hasn't said whether he'll take another run at Ryan.Whatever opponents he faces, however, Kaleka isn't running as just a sympathy candidate:
The death of Kaleka's father — and the way he died — continue to weigh on Kaleka. He said he's running in his father's memory, but he wants people to vote for him not out of sympathy but because of his position on the issues.Stay tuned. This race just got a lot more interesting.
"I'll agree my father's death has put me in a position where people listen to me more. But it's not that I'm taking advantage of that situation," he said. "I'm trying to further his dream of building the community and leading in a way that's very democratic. That's what drives me."