You may remember Ranjit “Ricky” Gill, the young candidate who in May announced his run for Congress as the Republican candidate for California’s 9th district against incumbent Democrat Jerry McNerney. The third-year law student will be eligible to serve in Congress when he turns 25 a month before the primaries next June, and he’s keeping busy in the meantime. His campaign told the San Francisco Chronicle that it has already raised $725,000, more than almost every non-incumbent Republican candidate in the nation.
Gill was getting noticed as a rising star over the summer partly because of his fundraising success as his pile rapidly approached the half-million mark. Donations came mostly from the Sikh community, and also from small business owners and other residents according to the Washington Post. He’s also on the radar of the National Republican Congressional Committee, which means daily emails with Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) and potentially more help down the line.
Does he seem like more of a contender now that he’s raised a lot of money? Or maybe a long-term one? Taz notes that the money can be given to other candidates or hung onto for the next election cycle, the latter being a strategic use of the funds.
His fundraising prowess doesn’t change the fact that he still has no full-time job experience, and that the redrawn 9th district will have more Democrats than Republicans. But his lack of experience could be an advantage in the mind of voters tired of career politicians, and what can be gleaned of his positions so far is not hard-core conservative.
“He declined to endorse the House GOP’s 2012 budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), which would turn Medicare into a voucher program by 2021, supports a balanced budget amendment and would have “reluctantly” voted for the debt-ceiling deal. On the health-care law, he talks about improving coordination and record-keeping, not repeal.”–Washington Post
Gill also seems more than personable and well-connected in the district where he’ll be running, a region where his parents’ obstetrics practice is reported to have delivered 70,000 babies over the years. His family also farms in a district where farmers are a significant constituency. His incumbent opponent on the other hand, will need to relocate his residence to live within the recently redrawn 9th district.
Of course, not everyone is a fan of Gill. In addition to whoever seems to have done a YouTube style hit-and-run associating his name with fetish videos, he’s now got another Republican opponent in addition to not-so-smooth talker Brad Goehring. John McDonald describes himself as a “43-year-old Native American, high technology executive, and a son of California” on his website where he attacks Gill for his youth/inexperience.
The Sacramento Bee mentions that Gill’s nickname Ricky comes from his brothers, who as young wrestling fans persuaded their parents not to go with Randy as an Americanized nick name because it reminded them too much of villain Randy “Macho Man” Savage. They liked Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat.
If elected Gill would be the fourth desi, after Dilip Singh Saund (D-California), Bobby Jindal (R-Louisiana), and Hansen Clarke (D-Michigan) to serve in Congress.