Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) will face a new challenger in next year’s congressional election: Amar Kaleka, the son of one of the men murdered by a white supremacist at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin last year.
Kaleka’s father, Satwant Singh Kalekah, was the temple’s founder, and his father’s murder galvanized Amar into embracing political activism. He will be running as a Democrat, and expects to make a formal announcement next month.
The 35-year-old Milwaukee native told the Associated Press that he wants to “bring accountability back to Washington,” especially in light of the government shutdown, which Kaleka blames on Rep. Ryan.
“There’s a fever in the nation, and specifically in this district, for our leaders to stop playing politics and do their jobs,” Kaleka said. “All I want to do is bring democracy — a government of, for and by the people — back to America.”
Kaleka knows he faces a formidable opponent in Ryan, who has already raised $1.7 million this year. However, he hopes to tap into the wealthy Indian and Arabic communities which, he claims, convinced him to run in the first place.
Ryan is an eight-term representative, but his approval rating is at a career-low 55 percent, so he may be vulnerable, especially if the national Democratic Party decides to throw its weight — and resources — behind Kaleka.