Washington: Indian-American Congressional candidate from Pennsylvania Manan Trivedi on Thursday accused his rival and incumbent Congressman Jim Geralch of using racially coded language in his election campaign against him.
State Democratic leadership has sought an apology from Geralch.
"Yesterday, Congressman Gerlach and his campaign demonstrated the low-side of politics when trying to describe Manan Trivedi as being `foreign` to his district...Congressman Gerlach should publicly apologise for interjecting insulting rhetoric into this campaign," Pennsylvania Democratic Party chairman Jim Burn said.
In trying to make a point about Trivedi`s residency, Congressman Gerlach used the word "foreign" in an attempt to take issue with his Indian-American heritage as though he wasn`t really from the community and an outsider, his campaign said.
"Manan Trivedi last week popped in his car and drove from his 7th Congressional District house in Union Township and into the 6th Congressional District to launch a series of `House Call` events designed to promote his campaign. The listening tour actually allowed him to quickly get a handle on just what voters in this foreign district care about most," read a press release from Team Gerlach.
"Manan Trivedi is the proud son of Indian immigrants who came to this country and worked hard to build the American Dream. Manan served his country honourably as a battalion surgeon with the Marines during the Iraq War and he certainly deserves more respect from Jim Gerlach rather than his petty rhetoric of trying to portray Dr Trivedi as somehow being from some far off place," Burn said.
"As a proud Indian-American, I was disappointed to see that my opponent has resorted to such cowardly political attacks again," Trivedi said in a statement, who is running as a Democrat from a Congressional District in Pennsylvania against the sitting Republican Geralch.
"I intend to run a campaign focused on the issues, and contrasting the status quo in Washington with my vision for the future. It is a disservice to everyone in the 6th district that Jim Gerlach isn`t willing to do the same," said Trivedi.
According to a statement issued by the Trivedi campaign, during the 2010 election cycle, attacks on residency and race were also used by the Gerlach.
"First, Jim Gerlach took issue with the fact that Trivedi was away from home, all the while he was serving his country as an officer in the United States Navy, including a deployment as a battalion surgeon during the Iraq War. The latter came when Congressman Gerlach`s campaign took issue with Indian American`s contributing money to Trivedi`s efforts," said the press statement.
The local Politics PA website said that Trivedi and his family did, in fact, reside within the district until recently when lines were redrawn and their part of the Pennsylvania map was bumped, by about two miles, into District 7 - but the Gerlach camp is still determined to cast their opponent as a stranger to Congressional District-6.