Statement on Emgage Texas Congressional District 22 Endorsement Process

September 22, 2020

The Texas chapter of Emgage PAC has interviewed, vetted, and endorsed over 25 candidates across Texas for this election cycle.  We recently concluded the endorsement process for Congressional District 22, a race that has garnered a great deal of attention across Texas and even nationally.  After careful consideration, we have decided not to make an endorsement in this race as we believe neither candidate is sufficiently aligned with the interests and values of the Texas Muslim community.

The Democratic candidate, Sri Preston Kulkarni, was endorsed by Emgage-TX PAC in 2018 because of his significant outreach to the Muslim community in CD-22.  Since then, Emgage has discovered that some of Kulkarni’s largest donors and closest supporters are leaders of organizations promoting Hindutva.  This far-right ideology, whose early founders openly praised Nazism, is completely antithetical to the inclusive and pluralistic values espoused by Emgage.  During the Emgage endorsement interview, Kulkarni stated that he has no connection to any foreign ideology.  However, he was unwilling to publicly condemn Hindutva-inspired organizations such as RSS, HSS, and BJP, or repudiate his donors linked to these organizations. Moreover, he refused to denounce, as Joe Biden has done, the mass atrocities committed by the BJP-led Modi government in India against the Muslim minority population, including the passage of the Citizen Amendment Act (CAA), the implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), and the abrogation of statehood for Kashmir.

Despite Emgage PAC efforts, we were unable to interview nor obtain a completed endorsement questionnaire from the Republican candidate, Troy Nehls, and thus could not assess his candidacy for endorsement. However, Nehls has tightly aligned himself with Trump, and his support of the border wall to his long list of violations that led to his firing from the Richmond police, show there are many issues with his candidacy that would be of concern to the Texas Muslim community.

It should be noted that all Emgage Political Action Committee endorsement decisions in Texas, including the decision not to endorse in CD-22, are solely made by a committee composed of the local Emgage board members from Texas. Paid Emgage staff or employees are not a part of this decision-making committee.