- He becomes the fourth Indian American to join the crowded field along with former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and aerospace engineer Hirsh Vardhan Singh.
Indian American scientist and entrepreneur Shiva Ayyadurai has announced his 2024 presidential run as an independent candidate, becoming the fourth Indian American Republican to enter a crowded field. His presidential run comes after two failed attempts to the U.S. Senate and a bid for Massachusetts governor.
Last week, aerospace engineer Hirsh Vardhan Singh threw his hat in the ring for the Republican nomination after former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.
Announcing his campaign, Ayyadurai said he’s running for president at a time when “we stand at the crossroads where we can either head into a Golden Age or into the Darkness.”Noting that “the old guard of career politicians, political hacks, lawyer-lobbyists and academics who pervade the country and local government with corruption and crony capitalism stop America from becoming great,” he said “America becomes great when innovators, entrepreneurs, working people with skills and those committed to using common sense and reason run this country.” Born “a low caste untouchable” in India, he came and his family to America in 1970, on his seventh birthday, and settled in Paterson, New Jersey, he said in his announcement video.
On his website, Ayyadurai describes himself as an entrepreneur who has four degrees from MIT and claims to have invented email. He has been using his social media to spread various conspiracy theories and misinformation about the pandemic. He has even called for firing Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
In 2018, he ran for the U.S. Senate against Sen. Elizabeth Warren. He ran as an independent and placed third with 3.4 percent of the votes. During the campaign, Ayyadurai displayed a sign on a campaign bus reading: “Only a REAL INDIAN Can Defeat the Fake Indian,” The Salem News reported at the time.
In July 2018, Ayyadurai was attacked by a man during a town hall meeting in Great Barrington. Police were quoted in news reports as saying that he was assaulted by Paul Solovay, 74, a Warren supporter outside the town hall on July 22. Police said Solovay approached Ayyadurai with an umbrella while he spoke to a group of Warren supporters outside through a bullhorn. Reports quoted police as saying that Solovay allegedly engaged in a verbal confrontation with Ayyadurai that became physical when he pushed the bullhorn toward the speaker, striking Ayyadurai’s mouth. Police said they acted quickly to subdue Solovay and place him in custody. “I was just punched in face by a racist @SenWarren supporter,” Ayyadurai, tweeted after the incident.
Two years later, in 2020, he ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination in the 2020 U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts. After losing the Republican primary to Kevin J. O’Connor, who won 58,590 votes to his 104,782, he alleged that over one million ballots had been destroyed and that the state had committed election fraud, a charge denied to The Salem News by Debra O’Malley, a spokesperson for Galvin.
However, after noted political science professors disputed Ayyadurai’s theory, he was eventually suspended from Twitter. On Feb, 3, he filed a lawsuit against Massachusetts State Rep. William Galvin and other Massachusetts election officials, alleging that they were responsible for Twitter’s suspending him. But, on Aug. 10, he dropped the lawsuit, along with an October 2020 suit against Galvin.
In 2014, Ayyadurai was married to “The Nanny” fame Fran Drescher, currently serving as the national president of the Screen Actors Guild and leading the ongoing Screen Writers’ strike. The couple separated in 2016.
(Top photo, YouTube screenshot)