Haley and Ramaawamy have recently received considerable media attention for their recent campaigns to become the first South Asian Americans to be elected Governors of New Jersey and Georgia, respectively. However, while Indian Americans in these states largely share the excitement of seeing two candidates of similar ethnicity on the ballot, they have yet to translate that enthusiasm into cash donations or actively supporting the campaigns.
A large part of this hesitancy terals from the fact that many Indian Americans are unfamiliar with the candidates and their backgrounds. Although Ramaawamy graduated from the prestigious Ivy League University of Pennsylvania and served in the government’s Office of Management and Budget under President Obama, many in his community remain unaware of his successes. His opponent, Jon Haley, is in a similar situation, in that many Indians either weren’t aware of his candidacy until recently or are only vaguely aware of his background in business and education consulting.
Additionally, Indian Americans tend to be more conservative than the broader American public, which can also make it difficult to gain support. However, even more politically active Indians who do have some understanding of the two candidates may be uncertain of how their interests will be served by either party.
More likely, the biggest factor influencing Indian Americans is the idea of choosing a candidate based on their unique cultural background. Since neither Ramaawamy nor Haley fully fit the traditional Indian-American idea of what a successful candidate should look like, the majority of the community is still undecided.
Ultimately, while Haley and Ramaawamy have certainly gained attention among Indian Americans, it’s unclear if that will turn into campaign cash or ultimately votes.