BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE
Atlanta, GA, September 19, 2022: Global Mall in Norcross brimmed over with supporters as Herschel Walker’s campaign bus rolled into the parking lot of the busy South Asian shopping center. Walker headlined the rally with his message to the Asian American community.
Nikki Haley, the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and former Governor of South Carolina, who is also among the highest profile Asian American Republicans, was on board to lend support to her party’s candidate for U.S. Senate.
Walker faces off Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, who flipped the seat in 2020 thanks in part to record turnout among Asian American voters. The opposing campaigns are high on the political watch list across the country and key to the Republican Party’s efforts to retake the U.S. Senate. In her endorsement video posted earlier in February, Haley cited the current 50-50 split in the Senate and underscored Georgia’s marquee Senate race as an opportunity for the GOP to retake the chamber.
Kicking off with the national anthem and a prayer led by former state legislator Melvin Everson, Chris Carr, Georgia’s Attorney General, delivered the opening remarks at the Walker campaign rally. Rick (Ritesh) Desai, Rally Organizer, Founder, Apnewala, on who also serves Governor Kemp’s Georgians First Committee among others, ushered in Haley to the crowd, who was later joined by Walker.
“This event brought participation from the Attorney General, Labor Commission candidate, 7 State House candidates, 2 State Senate candidates and 2 County Republican party Chairmen. The response from the community has also been complimentary with over 300 attendees at the event. I believe that this is the beginning of something amazing between the Republican party and the Indian-American community,” Desai noted.
“It don’t matter about your color,” Walker said addressing the crowd. “What matters is the content of your character … We’re on this unity bus trying to bring people together because a house divided cannot stand.”
Walker didn’t hold back when it came time to talk about his opponent and the Democratic administration.
“If you see him (Warnock), tell him to show up. Tell him to put on the big man pants to show up,” Walker said on the proposed debate with his opponent scheduled on October 14 in Savannah.
“They don’t want to talk about inflation, crimes, and the border. They are the reasons that we have all these problems today. You will get more of it if he gets re-elected in November.”
Walker paid tribute to two slain cobb county officers who were shot the previous day. He emphasized his support for law enforcement, the military, and his socially conservative values, including his opposition to transgender rights. “My opponent also says that you cannot serve the military and serve God at the same time. Does he not know that we are the greatest country in the world because we have the greatest military – that is why we have to support our military.”
Sharing her insights on United State foreign policy under the Biden Administration, Haley said, “We would not have the war in Ukraine if we didn’t have the blunder in Afghanistan,’ also underlining that Senator Warnock is part of the problem in supporting the pullout.
Hitting on fiscal responsibility in her address, Haley portrayed Democrats as wasteful spenders who gave billions to “federal inmates” and “illegal immigrants.” “They don’t understand the value of a dollar and we continue to see it,” she said.
“Asian Americans have not elected Republicans because Republicans have not talked to Asian Americans.. Herschel Walker wanted you to know that he is there for you,” Haley said, acknowledging that the party is extending its outreach to the community.
“I am especially encouraged by the growing relationship between the Republican party and the Indian-American community across the country. The Republican party identifies in its values with the Indian-American community in terms of small govt, low taxes, free market and fiscal responsibility. The Republican National Committee has invested heavily in the Asian-American community. They have opened five offices across the country dedicated to serving the Asian-American community one of which is focused exclusively on the Indian-American community located in Coppell, TX. The interest from the party is further developed by the candidates at all levels as is visible in the rally at Global Mall featuring Nikki Haley who was stumping for Herschel Walker the US Senate candidate,” Desai said, reinforcing the role of Indian Americans on election outcomes in the state and across the country.
Narender Reddy, Republican nominee for Georgia State House District 50, present at the rally, agrees.
“I’m glad Herschel Walker chose to reach out to Indian Americans. The rally is a clear indication that Republican Party leadership is recognizing the might of Indian Americans and their contributions to the economy because the Indian American community is ranked as the No.1 in having the highest average household income in the country. Also, I was happy to see Nikki Haley, a prospective presidential contender, reaching out to our community well ahead of the primary season for 2024 Presidential elections,” Reddy said.
Bob Erramilli, Johns Creek City Council member echoed similar sentiments. “The rally reinforced typical Asian values of serious work ethic; believing in self reliance rather than relying on govt charity, and our faith which provides us with a steady moral compass, – are the reasons to our unqualified success,” Erramilli said.
Walker found support in many community leaders.
“Herschel Walker is a kid from a small town in Georgia who has lived the American dream. He is none other than your next-door neighbor who listens to you, who works for you. He is one among us and running for the United States Senate to keep that dream alive for you, too. He is going to be our voice in DC So be part of this upcoming Electoral process and show your support, “Sunil Savili, CEO, Unicorn Technologies, and key event organizer said.
“Herschel is very hardworking conservative. Hard working Georgians are paying 9.1% more simply because Senator Warnock cares more about working for Joe Biden than Georgia’s struggling families. Since Warnock got to Washington, he has voted with Biden 96% of the time – spending our money and shipping American jobs and energy overseas,” Kartik Bhatt, Co-Chair @ Herschel For Senate, said
“Global Mall was delighted to host the rally for Hershel Walker. Hershel and Nikki Haley both spoke very well, and they are ready to serve and work with Indian American community. As Global Mall owner I was happy to welcome them at Global Mall,” Shiv Aggarwal, owner, Global Mall said.