WASHINGTON: A 30-year-old Indian-American Democratic social worker is running for the US House of Representatives from New Jersey which is known to be a strong Republican bastion.
Peter Jacob, a staunch supporter of Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont, was elected unopposed in the Democratic primary on June 7.
He is seeking to unseat incumbent Leonard Lance of the Republican party who has represented Congressional District 7 of New Jersey since 2009.
This is the same Congressional district from where Upendra Chivukula – the first Indian-American to be elected to the New Jersey State Assembly – tried his luck in 2012 and lost to Lance by more than 50,000 votes.
Another Indian-Americans Thomas Abraham ran as an independent in 2008 and got less than one per cent of the votes.
The 7th Congressional District of New Jersey is said to be a strong Republican bastion. The party has retained this seat for the last 100 years, except for six years between 1975-1981.
However, Jacobs, hopes to turn the tide this election cycle given that his rival incumbent Lance is supporting Donald Trump.
In a Congressional district having a sizeable population of foreign born, extreme views are unlikely to sail through, he noted.
"It is ironic to me that Leonard Lance has endorsed Donald Trump, because Trump has preached out against the type of politician that Leonard Lance is," Jacob told local Daily Record.
"When they arrived in 1986, they had three things with them. Just USD 20 in their pockets, hearts full of hope and six-months-old me in their arms," he said.
Today his parents own and operate a thriving business.
"I wouldn't say I'm a long shot. I think 2016 is a very different year," he told the media outlet.
During his undergraduate and graduate years, Peter was a student activist and leader. He worked with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), the YWCA and the International Institute.
Through these and other community organisations, he helped fight the ongoing scourges of child abuse, human trafficking, and disastrous Iraq War.