Indian-origin Senator Kamala Harris among potential Democratic presidential aspirants

PTI
Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Harris, 54, the first time Senator from California, made her first trip to Iowa about a month ago, which media analysts here said was in preparation for her potential presidential run.

WASHINGTON: Kamala Harris, the first Indian-origin US Senator also known as the "female Obama", is considering to run for the White House in 2020, media reports said, days after a strong showing by the Democratic Party in the recent mid-term elections.

Harris, 54, the first time Senator from California, made her first trip to Iowa about a month ago, which media analysts here said was in preparation for her potential presidential run.

Born in Oakland, California, she is the daughter of an Indian mother who migrated to the US from Chennai in 1960 and a Jamaican-American father.

Her mother Shyamala Gopalan studied science, specifically endocrinology and complex mechanisms of cancer. Her father Donald Harris grew up in Jamaica, where he became a national scholar and earned the opportunity to study economics in the US.

The 2020 presidential cycle would kick off on February 3, 2020 in Iowa, where the first primary is scheduled to be held.

Media reports indicated that Harris' multiple stops in Iowa indicated an Obama-like energy in her meetings.

"I haven't seen that kind of energy since Barack Obama," Sean Bagniewski, the chair of the Polk County Democrats, told lake County Record-Bee after Harris addressed several hundred people at a downtown Des Moines ballroom in Iowa last month.

Harris has not announced her presidential bid yet.

In multiple media interviews, she has neither denied nor confirmed reports of her running for the White House in 2020.

During the Obama era, she was popularly called as the "female Obama". A decade ago, journalist Gwen Ifill called Harris "the female Barack Obama" on the "Late Show With David Letterman". Later, a small businessman from Willoughby Tony Pinto called her "a young, female version of the president".

She is considered to be close to Obama, the first black American President, who endorsed her in her various elections including that of the US Senate in 2016.

Harris said her visit to Iowa was to campaign for party during mid-term elections. After a gap of eight years, the Democratic party wrested from the Republicans the majority in the House of Representatives.

In the past two years, she has emerged as the star performer of the party in the Senate and a leading Democratic voice against US President Donald Trump.

According to an online poll carried out by Axios, Harris would beat Trump most handily by a 10-point margin if the election were held now.

She polls well with African-American and white suburban women, but not with "Never Hillary" independent registered voters, Axios said in its report last week.

Harris is among the two-dozen potential Democratic leaders who are eyeing the US presidency in 2020. However, none of them have made a formal announcement yet.

Prominent among them include 2016 presidential candidates Senator Bernie Sanders and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton; and former US vice president Joe Biden.

Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu lawmaker from Hawaii in the US Congress, is also considering to run for the presidency, according to sources close to her.

Several Democratic Senators in the potential race include Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Jeff Merkley, Sherrod Brown, Amy Klobuchar and Richard Blumenthal.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee are said to be in the race to take on President Trump in his re-election bid.

Former first lady Michelle Obama has ruled out entering the electoral fray.

In the recently-concluded crucial midterm elections, opposition Democrats captured the House of Representatives while Trump's Republican Party retained its majority in the Senate, an outcome likely to intensify the political bitterness and fighting between the two major parties in the run up to the 2020 presidential poll.

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