World

US election 2020: Who is Sara Gideon, Maine’s Indian-origin Senate candidate

NEW DELHI: Indian-origin Sara Gideon, Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, is giving a tough fight to Republican Senator Susan Collins.
Maine has already been called for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, but the race between Collins and Gideon is still open. Also, Maine is one of two states that divide their electoral votes by congressional district, and the 2nd District — worth one electoral vote — hasn’t been called yet.
Who is Sara Gideon?
Born in 1971, Gideon grew up in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, where her father was a pediatrician who emigrated from India and her Armenian American mother was a psychiatrist.
Gideon finished her higher education from the George Washington University after which she served as an intern for US Senator Claiborne Pell.
Gideon settled in Freeport, home to LL Bean, to raise her family with her husband, Benjamin Rogoff Gideon, a Maine native who took her last name.
She credits her parents’ health care jobs and their commitment to community for her inspiration for public service.
Although Gideon doesn’t talk much about her Indian heritage, Americans of Indian descent are looking to her candidacy much the way they do that of vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris, whose mother was from India – with a sense of pride and excitement.
If elected in November, she will be the second Indian American women to be elected to the US senate. Kamala Harris from California is the first Indian origin senator to be elected to the US senate.
The last time Democrat Sara Gideon ran for office, she trounced her Republican challenger and spent a measly $4,299.99 doing it.
Two years later, the Maine House speaker has hauled in $63.6 million, a mountain of money that’s poured in from Democrats across the country for one clear purpose: Defeating Sen. Susan Collins.
It’s a mission that has been enthusiastically embraced by Gideon, an up-and-coming Democrat who has ably tapped into frustrations in Maine and beyond with Collins’ ties to President Donald Trump.
The 48-year-old is now giving Collins the fight of her political life in a race that is testing voters’ willingness to punish all Republicans for Trump’s combative and disruptive leadership – even those, like Collins, who’ve tried to keep a distance.
Gideon got into politics on the Freeport Town Council in 2009. She was elected to the Maine House in 2012 and became speaker four years later. She made her name battling with then-GOP Gov. Paul LePage over issues including funding to address the drug overdose crisis.
Democratic support quickly coalesced around Gideon as Collins’ vote for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh ensured her race would draw national attention and cash.
(With inputs from agencies)

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