Hiral Tipirneni claims to be the embodiment of the “American dream”: arriving from India when she was a child, she became a doctor and is now running for a seat in the House of Representatives.
To achieve this, however, the Democratic candidate will have to win in an Arizona constituency that has always voted Republican since its creation in 2000.
Impossible mission ? The polls are unable to predict the outcome of the November 3 ballot as the campaign is so tight. A surprise in a suburb where the Republican David Schweikert, elected since 2013, had won with ten points in advance in the last election two years ago.
In 2016, President Donald Trump made a similar score.
Arizona’s 6th constituency covers part of Maricopa County, home to 60% of voters in this desert state, of which it includes the largest city, Phoenix.
“The county of Maricopa is the largest + pivot county + in the whole country”, assures Ms. Tipirneni, receiving AFP in her local campaign.
“So yes, we have the opportunity to weigh not only in this constituency and at the level of the State of Arizona, but also a chance to change what will happen in this country on the morning of November 4,” insists this woman from 53 years.
Traditionally Republican, Arizona has undergone rapid demographic transformation, with an explosion in the population of young graduates and voters of Latin American descent, more inclined to vote for moderate candidates.
This state is “really coveted” and to win the 6th constituency, the candidates must rally “independent thinkers who do not want someone who will follow the line of a party”, believes Tipirneni.
However, her opponent David Schweikert represents, according to her, “the far right of the Republican Party”.
– “Don’t back down!” –
As evidenced by the silence in his office, the Covid-19 pandemic has turned the campaign upside down and virtual meetings have become the norm, at least among Democrats.
“I miss knocking on doors so much, having direct interaction, talking with families from everywhere,” sighs Ms. Tipirneni.
She arrived in the United States when she was only three years old, with her parents who had moved to California, near Los Angeles, to open a grocery store. Not having enough money to hire an employee or a nanny, they took turns behind the counter and taking care of their daughter.
The father eventually landed an engineering job in Ohio, where Ms Tipirneni and her brother grew up, while the mother became a social worker.
“I am the result of the American dream. Don’t back down! ”She says to volunteers during a discussion on Zoom, to urge them to continue their canvassing until the last moment.
Between the health crisis and the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus, “this is the ideal time for an emergency doctor to show up and say + wait, stabilize the situation and stop the bleeding +, right?”, Pleads- she.
“People are trying to keep their heads above water. They try to continue to feed their families and to have a roof over their heads (…) They hope that their grandparents, their parents, stay alive and in safety ”.
“So let’s make sure to administer first aid. And then let’s design a long-term plan, ”insists the candidate.
Like many of her Democratic counterparts in Arizona, Tipirneni is careful not to play partisan confrontation in this unprecedented crisis and comes in a moderate light.
“It has nothing to do with the party or the ideology. What matters is what to do with the science and the data at our disposal ”.