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Financial Reports Reflect Diverse Support for Indian American Candidates

For the first time in the history of Nevada, three Indian American candidates, Radhika Pochampally-Kunnel, Sayed Zaidi, and Swadeep Nigam, are on the ballot in the 2020 general election.

Kunnel, a Democrat, is running for an open Assembly District 2 seat, while Zaidi is an independent candidate from Assembly District 42.  Nigam is running in a non-partisan race for the Regent, University System District 3. All three candidates have been campaigning for months to come out a winners in their respective races.

The third-quarter financial reports submitted by candidates Kunnel and Nigam reflects wide support from their constituents, friends, and community leaders.  Kunnel raised over $38,500, with her biggest donation of $2,500 from Lawrence Wong of Arcata Associates.  The total includes $3,000 in an in-kind contribution in form of professional services. Kunnel donors include elected Democrats, organized labor groups and members of the local Indian community . Donations from the local Indian community were sparse though critical to continue a meaningful campaign.  During the same period, Kunnel’s campaign reported $11,137 in expenses with majority of that spent on campaign advertising. Kunnel is entering the fourth quarter beginning October 1st with over $26,000 in the bank.

Kunnel’s Republican opponent, Heidi Kasama raised over $103,500, including $55,450 of her own money to the campaign, during the third quarter of the current calendar year campaign. During the same period, Kasama spent $99,000, mainly on campaign advertising and consultants. Kasama’s financial report shows over $67,000 in available cash at the end of the third quarter. Kasama loaned over $50,000 to the campaign early in the campaign and eventually paid back the loan to herself.

Nigam, candidate for the Regent, University System District 3, raised over $21,700 including $1,600 in in-kind contribution.  The majority of Nigams’ donors are members of the local Indian community with his biggest donor being Paul Padda Law who donated $2,500.  Nigam’s total expenses for the third quarter were over $ 15,600 with majority of the money spent on advertising on social media, electronic billboards, street signs, and mailers.  Moving to the fourth quarter of the campaign Nigam has over $13,300 in available cash. 

Nigam’s opponent, Byron Brooks, a college dropout and a bail bondsman, raised $3,500 from six donors and spent $1,729 on advertising during the period ending September 30th, 2020.

Zaidi, a candidate for State Assembly District 42 did not actively pursue any fundraising. Zaidi had a single donor with $500 in donation.  During the three months ending September 2020, Zaidi spent $6,445, mostly on printing and campaign advertising.

Zaidi’s opponent, incumbent Alexander Assefa, raised close to $70,000 and spent $23,430.  At the end of the quarter, Assefa had over $ 68,000 in available funds.

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