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Politics

The Greek Candidates in U.S. Midterm Elections

NEW YORK – With the November 6 mid-term elections just one day away, candidates are still knocking on doors and sending out text messages asking for voters’ support and hoping for a high voter turnout.

In this year’s elections there are many Greek-American candidates running for key positions. Overall, on November 6, at least 25 Greek-American candidates or candidates of Greek descent, are up for election to Congress or for state and local offices, and senior positions, including the candidate for the Supreme Court of New York, in the 10th District, Judge Helen Voutsinas.

Certainly not everyone has the same power: Some are incumbents, well-known to the voters, running for re-election, while others are entering the political arena for the first time.

Also, some are in a very advantageous position according to the polls while some are battling against the odds hoping to overcome the polls and gain a winning percentage.

The National Herald has compiled the Greek-American candidates and calls on all the Greek-American organizations and the expatriate community to think “Greek” and consider supporting these candidates if they are running in your state.

Federal Elections

Congress

For the U.S. House of Representatives there are typically eight Greek-American candidates running across the country, six of whom are likely to be elected or re-elected, as the case may be.

In Florida, three of the eight are found:

In the 12th District, Republican Congressman Gus Bilirakis, is running for re-election.

By maintaining good relations with U.S. President Donald Trump, and by acting decisively on national issues, Bilirakis is considered to be one of the most important candidates, although this election may be more difficult this time: On the one hand, the traditional “wear and tear” of mid-term elections, the party of the current President, and, on the other hand, the strong candidacy of Democratic Chris Hunter.

In the 13th District, third-generation Greek-American lawyer Charlie Christ, a Democrat, is running for reelection and is the frontrunner in the race.

A former adviser to George W. Bush, Republican Michael Waltz, is of Greek descent and running in Florida’s 6th District.

Among the Democrats, John Sarbanes is up for reelection in the 3rd District of Maryland and Dina Titus is running for reelection the 1st District of Nevada.

A promising new candidate is Chris Pappas in the 1st District of New Hampshire whose election would raise the number of Greek-American Representatives in Congress.

Also among the Greek-American candidates, Anthony Pappas, in the 14th District of New York, Republican candidate against Alessandra Ocazio-Cortez who shocked the Democrats by beating incumbent Joe Crowley in the primary election.

Ultimately, the Republicans withdrew their support from Pappas but his name for technical reasons is still on the ballot as the Republican candidate.

In the 3rd District of Arkansas, the Greek-American teacher Michael Kalagias is a contender for Congress, with the support of the Libertarian Party.

Senate

In the Senate, the eyes are on the Republican candidate Leah Papachristou Vukmir, daughter of Greek immigrants and an active member of the Greek Orthodox Church, running in Wisconsin against her Democratic rival, Tammy Baldwin.

Elected for years as State Senator without ever being a favorite, Papachristo-Vukmir hopes to overcome the unfavorable predictions of polls that show Baldwin in the lead.

However, she strongly supports President Trump and that may or may not affect her chances.

Less well-known, Demetri Theodoropoulos of the Green Party is running in Delaware, though the odds are not on his side.

Candidates for State Offices

The November 6th elections, however, are not only about the Federal elections but also the States.

The top nomination for the Greek community is that of Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis in California, with the former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary running for the position of Lt. Governor.

For the same post, but in Connecticut, Susan Bysiewicz is a candidate with roots in Greece and Poland.

The former U.S. Rep. Zack Space (Ohio) and Kathy Kramedas McGuinness (Delaware) are running for the Auditor’s post in their respective states.

In Illinois, Erika Harold, who is of Greek, German and English origin on her father’s side; and on her mother’s side, both Native-American and African-American, is running for Attorney General of the state.

In California, Konstantinos Roditis aims to be elected State Controller.

In the New York State the head of the Democratic majority, Michael Gianaris is running for reelection, while Andrew Gounardes is running for the first time.

In the State Assembly, Democrat Aravella Simotas is running for reelection and James Skoufis for the first time.

On the Republican side, incumbent Nicole Malliotakis is also up for reelection.

Rhode Island State Senator Leonidas Raptakis is running for reelection as well, while in Ohio State Representative Jim Trakas is running for the State Senate.

In Connecticut, Eleni Kavros DeGraw is on the ballot for the State Representative in the 17th District.

Finally, in Illinois’ Cook County, the incumbent Maria Pappas is the only candidate for Treasurer, a position she has held since 1998.

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