Shiva Ayyadurai, an Indian-American technology entrepreneur in Boston, said he is the “real Indian who can beat this fake Indian,” as he announced his GOP Massachusetts Senate primary candidacy.
Of course, he was referring to Sen Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) She has claimed her family in Oklahoma always told her she’s part Cherokee.
“These are my family stories,” Warren said in a May 2012 NPR interview. “This is what my brothers and I were told by my mom and my dad, my mamaw and my papaw. This is our lives. And I’m very proud of it.”
Ayyadurai doesn’t believe it and has challenged Warren to a DNA test to determine who’s the real Indian.
He even sent her an all-expense paid DNA test kit via Amazon, but had to tweet he was “deeply saddened” that Warren had refused to accept a “thoughtful gift.”
But Warren’s rejection of the DNA test kit did free up Ayyadurai to run on the campaign slogans, “Only a real Indian can defeat the fake Indian,” and use the phrase “Defeat #FakeIndian Elizabeth Warren” on his campaign website.
The 53-year-old, who holds four degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, moved to the U.S. from India as a child. Now, Ayyadurai is one of several Republicans betting they have a chance of defeating Warren in November 2018.
“I know that Warren — in spite of (what) people think she is — is extremely weak,” Ayyadurai told MassLive. “She’s a formidable enemy, but weak in the sense that where she’s fundamentally coming from, her basis of where she’s coming from, has massive weakness and I know how to expose that weakness.”
Ayyadurai could be right. A WBUR poll released in January showed not everyone in Massachusetts is enamored with Warren.
The live telephone survey showed only 44 percent of voters think Warren “deserves re-election.” And 46 percent said it was time to “give someone else a chance.”
“No one’s going to look at a 44 percent re-elect number and think that that’s a good number,” said Steve Koczela, president of The MassINC Polling Group, which conducts surveys for WBUR. “No one’s going to look at it being close to even between ‘reelect’ and ‘give someone else a chance’ and think that that’s reassuring.”
Massachusetts state Rep. Geoff Diehl is another Republican on the GOP Senate primary ballot who believes beating Warren is doable.
“She is absolutely vulnerable. When she should be working for the people of the state, she is spending her time antagonizing the president,” Diehl told Fox News. “She might as well be running for chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.”
Three other GOP candidates – Allen Rodney Waters, Darius Mitchell and Heidi Wellman – also filed the FEC paperwork needed to get on the November 2018 GOP Senate Primary ballot.
Beth Lindstrom, a former aide to Mitt Romney and Scott Brown’s campaign manager in the 2010 election, announced her intention to run in the Massachusetts GOP Senate primary.
While Massachusetts voters may not be satisfied with Warren, a more recent WBUR survey of Massachusetts voters released in June showed most Massachusetts voters don’t have any idea who those Republicans are, not to mention why they should vote for one of the GOPers.
Politicians call it “name recognition.”
But Koczela pointed out that popularity in polls or name recognition does not always translate well into the voting booth.
“Scott Brown, for instance, was very popular going into his own re-election effort,” Koczela said. “He was facing, at the outset of the campaign, some Democrats that didn’t have much name recognition, and he ended up facing Elizabeth Warren.”
And, Warren defeated Brown in the 2012 Senate race.
Massachusetts Democratic Party spokeswoman Emily Fitzmaurice told Fox News that Warren has nothing to worry about in November 2018.
“There are plenty of powerful, corporate interests, rolling in dough, eager to attack Elizabeth Warren, but that’s never stopped her before and it’s not going to stop her now,” Fitzmaurice said. “More than ever, we need Elizabeth working to level the playing field for the people of Massachusetts and working families all across our country.”
However, MassGOP Chair Kirsten Hughes said Sen. Warren’s January re-election announcement was evidence that the Democrat who has been mentioned as a 2020 presidential candidate knows she faces a contentious November 2018 election.
“It’s not surprising that Senator Warren is starting her campaign early: she has to work hard to undo the damage she caused herself by opposing bipartisan efforts to combat opioid addiction,” Hughes said.
“Her record has exposed her as a hyperpartisan bully more interested in scoring political points than delivering actual results,” Hughes added, “and Massachusetts has little to gain by sending her back to Washington.”