Abhay Patel, a newcomer to the pool of Republican candidates vying to fill the seat soon to be left vacant by Louisiana GOP Sen. David Vitter, made his candidacy official last Thursday.
“I’m not a career politician. I’m a businessman who learned about hard work and sacrifice by watching my immigrant parents,” Patel said when announcing his Senate campaign.
Patel lives in New Orleans with his wife Nicole and is the son of Indian immigrants. Raised in the rural south, he dealt with significant visual impairment as a child, but managed to achieve academic success later on as a student at Louisiana State University as well as Boston University Law School.
The businessman entered the banking industry thereafter at Deutsche Bank as Vice President of the Global Industrials Group.
He describes himself as a “passionate limited government conservative” with a “pro-business, pro-growth agenda.”
“I’m definitely the true outsider in this race. My entire career has been in business and finance and economic development. Like so many others, I’m sick and tired of what’s going on in Washington and we need outsider perspective and energy and insight,” Patel told The Daily Caller in an interview Monday.
“Washington today controls every aspect of American life–controls our education system, our healthcare system, our retirement system and then, when you’re dead and gone, they’ll beat you into the grave to get a little more,” he said.
Patel joins six other Republicans in the Louisiana primary for Senate. Democrats are running four candidates. The state holds a “jungle primary” on Election Day, November 8 with all the candidates running from each party.
If no candidate manages to win a majority, the top two vote-getters will face each other in a runoff in December, even if the two are from the same party.
“I believe in my heart that I’m the best-qualified candidate for this race because when you look at this country, we have lots of issues abroad and at home. There is nothing I’m more passionate about than the limited role that the government should play in our daily lives,” Patel said.
Patel notes that while some will make comparisons between him and former GOP Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, given their similar cultural backgrounds, he asks that people judge him as an individual.
“I can certainly appreciate on the surface why those comparisons would be made, but let me just say two things. One, I don’t know Bobby Jindal. I met him one time in my life. Two, I would say if you look at my history, I think we took a different beat,” Patel said. “I think he ran for office for the first time when he was 26 years old or certainly entered public life. His entire career was in the public sector.”
He explained, “I’m proud to have roots in the world’s largest democracy and being born in its greatest, of course. All I ask is to be judged as an individual. Get to know me. Hear my views. …and I think if [people] do that they’ll see that Bobby Jindal and I don’t have all that much in common other than what’s on the surface, but other than that, I can serve to be the next generation leader in Washington.”
Patel points out he relates more to Republican Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Joni Ernst, as well as House Speaker Paul Ryan.
“We’re really seeing an emergence of that disruptive next generation outsider coming. I can name several,” he said, adding, “I would love to join that group of individuals in helping to extend and expand the Republican Party,” he said.
As for Donald Trump, Patel told TheDC that he plans to be at the GOP Convention in Cleveland and will support the presumptive Republican Party nominee.
“I’m hopeful everyone in the Republican Party will do that,” he said. “Allowing Hillary Clinton to be president is not an option to us.”