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Nikki Haley turns to NRIs for funds

world Updated: Oct 12, 2010 00:27 IST
Anirudh Bhattacharyya

Nikki Haley, who is attempting to become the first-ever Indian-American woman Governor of an American State, spent her last cross-country fundraising tour focusing upon groups from the affluent Indian-American community, telling gatherings that India was "close to her heart."

The recent fundraising exercise took her beyond her native South Carolina to New Jersey, Washington, Chicago, Dallas, among other stops. In all, she attended at least half-a-dozen galas organised by the Indian-American community. According to one estimate, she may have raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars at these fundraisers.

This major fundraising push came at a critical juncture. The Republican, who was considered to be a comfortable favourite to become Governor of South Carolina in November this year, has seen her lead over her Democratic Party rival shrink from nearly 17 per cent at one point to below double digits. Her fundraising trip is expected to provide new momentum in the waning weeks before the gubernatorial poll.

At an event in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Haley told the audience that she wanted to open up avenues for business ties between South Carolina and India, if she were to be elected.

Haley has not attempted to hide her Indian roots, though that has proved somewhat of a liability in a conservative Southern State like South Carolina.