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Manan Trivedi shakes up race; come meet him at Philly Dem Sum

When Iraq War veteran and physician Manan Trivedi declared his candidacy for Congress, a lot of people in his suburban Philadelphia district of PA-06 were caught off-guard. But now, having met the first-time candidate, they are taking a hard look at his chances. Here's a great piece that sums up the waves Trivedi has caused.

Dan Wofford had passed. Bob Roggio had said no thanks. State Senator Andrew Dinniman (D-Chester) had also decided againstrunning for Congress in the 6th District. The Democratic primary field seemed clear for former Inquirer editorial writer Doug Pike. Campaign and party insiders were poised to focus all their attention on the general election, seemingly eyeing their best chance of winning the seat since it was first redrawn by Republicans in 2002.

And then Manan Trivedi showed up.

When the Iraq War veteran and Reading doctor first declared his candidacy this month, party insiders didn’t know exactly what to think. Many, especially in the more liberal, Montgomery County sections of the district from which the party has often drawn its nominees, had never heard of him. He wasn’t exactly well-known in Chester County. Trivedi hails from the Berks County section of the district that makes up less of the primary electorate, but is critical in the general election and has eluded Democrats in recent cycles.

But in just over a week, Trivedi has impressed some Democrats. And even if they don’t think he can win, few deny that his candidacy has, at a minimum, substantially shifted the dynamics of a race that had seemed over before it began and set up a primary that will showcase two candidates of strikingly different backgrounds and political styles.

“At first you think, ‘who is this guy jumping in the race?’” said a Democratic insider not involved in the campaign. “But he seems to be an impressive and now formidable opponent. He’s not the standard Lower Merion candidate that we’ve recruited for that seat in the past.”

Even those who support Trivedi are hesitant to say he can beat Pike, who has piled up a vast amount of establishment support, has substantial personal wealth to draw upon and has put together what is by all accounts a top-notch campaign team. Pike has already given his own committee more than half-a-million dollars, according to campaign finance data.

But Trivedi didn’t enter the race politically empty-handed. His chief political consultant, Daren Berringer, has worked for high-profile Democrats ranging from Howard Dean and John Edwards to Bob Casey, Jack Wagner and Patrick Murphy. And while he has little time to raise money before the current campaign finance period closes on Sept. 30, he is said to have hit the ground running. His campaign Web site is dynamic, and he wasted no time in rolling out an endorsement from Roggio, last year’s Democratic nominee for the seat.

“If I didn’t think I was the best candidate, I wouldn’t be in it,” Trivedi told pa2010.com in an interview this week.

If you in the Philadelphia and would like to meet Trivedi, please join us next Saturday, Sept. 26th at Kong Restaurant. We'll be hosting a Dem Sum focused on healthcare. Here are the details:

DATE: September 26, 2009 (Saturday)

TIME: 7:00 pm 

CITY: Philadelphia

LOCATION: Kong (702 N. 2nd Street in Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia)

COST: Attendees order on their own off menu. A special $25 prix fixe menu is available, as well.

RSVP TO: Farzin Khan at Khan.Farzin @ gmail.com by Thursday, Sept. 24

Topics will include healthcare, school violence and other issues affecting the AAPI community in the greater Philadelphia area. Special Guest Iraq War veteran and physician Manan Trivedi, who is running for Congress.

Here's a video up at Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faPhp5DKQSU


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