In an email to Middlesex and Monmouth County Republican Chairmen Sam Thompson and John Bennett, Hari Eppanapally withdrew his name from consideration for the nomination for Congress from the 6th congressional district this afternoon.
In his letter which can be read in its entirety here, Eppanapally said he made the decision to withdraw in the best interests of the GOP so that the party can put up a united fight against the incumbent, Congressman Frank Pallone, by rallying behind one candidate.
“Looking at the big picture and being a responsible leader, I feel the party’s time and energy should be spent on the main election to win this race rather than diluting it on a primary which may divide the party.”
Anthony Wilkinson, an attorney from Old Bridge, is now the only candidate seeking the Republican Party endorsements at the Middlesex and Monmouth GOP conventions which will be held tomorrow morning. Monmouth’s convention is at Freehold Township High School at 9am, Middlesex’s at Royal Albert’s Palace in Fords at 10..
Eppanapally said the GOP in CD-6 and nationally should focus on Health Care, Education and the Economy.
Eppanapally offered an explanation for his support of Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula’s 2012 congressional candidacy against Congressman Leonard Lance in the 7th congressional district.
I want to clarify my support to Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula during his 2012 Congressional race from NJ CD7. He is a
very close long-time friend of mine. I decided to support him purely on a personal level, not because of his Party affiliation. I
want to stand corrected on this so that people do not have any misunderstanding on my belief in Republican principles.
Eppanapally did not offer an explanation of his $2500 contribution to President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign in his letter.
Pallone can be beat in a primary, as Cory Booker proved last August in the Special Senate Primary. More importantly, Pallone’s campaign war chest was depleted by about 75% in that primary last year. Eppanapally can force Pallone to spend his resources while defending his Democratic nomination while the GOP candidate, presumably Wilkinson baring an unknown primary contestant, raises funds for the fall campaign. If Eppanapally agrees to enter the Democratic Primary, MMM will lead his petition drive to get him on the ballot.
Eppanapally told MMM that he became interested in challenging Pallone after being approached by the National Republican Congressional Committee. NRCC presented Eppanapally with statistics showing that almost 300,000 Indian Americans live in Middlesex County, over 100,000 of them in CD-6 and argued, based upon Anna Little’s 2010 performance against Pallone, that an Indian American candidate could swing enough votes to beat Pallone. Eppanapally said that he would only seek the nomination if there was no primary challenge. When Wilkinson got in the race and made it clear he would run a primary campaign regardless of the outcome of the Monmouth and Middlesex GOP conventions, Eppanapally bowed out.
Labels and List’s analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census Data indicates that there are 21,069 voters of Indian/South East Asian descent in CD-6.
Eppanapally told MMM that his $2500 donation to President Obama’s reelection campaign was the price of a ticket to an event at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in 2011 that he attended as an employee of Financial Policy Council Inc. Obama spoke at the event. He said he was unaware that the event was an Obama fundraiser when he attended.
Eppanapally said he would not challenge Pallone in the Democratic primary.
Eppanapally called to clarify his earlier remarks about his $2500 contribution to President Obama’s reelection campaign and the event at the Waldorf-Astoria. He said that his attendance at the event was “on the personal level” and not as an employee of Financial Policy Council Inc. He said he wrote a personal check to the Obama campaign to attend the event. Asked how he could not know that he was contributing to the Obama campaign or attending an Obama fund raisers if he wrote a check to the Obama campaign, Eppanapally said, “It doesn’t matter.”