David Krikorian, the Reagan conservative-turned-Democrat who was vying for the chance to run against Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) in November, might be conceding defeat after yesterday’s Democratic primary, but he’s not doing it very gracefully.
Instead, the Cincinnati businessman is claiming that the victor, Indian-American Surya Yalamanchili, won only after “playing the race card” — a reference to recent allegations that Krikorian made racially charged comments about Yalamanchili’s name in the run up to the vote. It’s a curious claim considering that the allegations never really came from Yalamanchili himself.
Krikorian blamed his apparent loss on allegations last week that he had made fun of Yalamanchili’s name. He strongly denied the accusations.
“That clearly affected the final outcome,” he said. “That was the difference. We tried to run a very positive campaign, but one of our opponents stooped to the level of playing the race card.”
Krikorian, who had run against (and lost to) Schmidt as an Independent in 2008, had also rankled Democratic leaders for his recent criticisms of government unions.
Update: It’s worth noting that the allegations of racism originated with Schmidt, who cited attendees at one of Krikorian’s campaign events. Indeed, Yalamanchili appears to have waded into the scandal only reluctantly, telling local media last week that he was more offended for the voters of the district than for himself.
“Whether or not the comments were intended to be racist, I think they make certain assumptions about how people of the 2nd district view things,” he said at the time.
“I’m not sure,” Yalamanchili said today in a phone interview, “that’s really playing the race card.”