AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Republican leaders in suburban Houston have apologized for an advertisement likening the Hindu deity Ganesha to the GOP’s elephant symbol amid a congressional race featuring an Indian-American Democrat.
The ad was sponsored by the Fort Bend County Republican Party and published last week in a newspaper popular with area Indian-Americans.
It wished Hindus a happy Ganesh Chaturthi, or festival celebrating the elephant-headed Ganesha’s birth, asking, “Would you worship a donkey or an elephant?”
The Hindu American Foundation calls the ad “problematic and offensive.” Democrat Sri Preston Kulkarni, running to unseat Republican Rep. Pete Olson, says it “promotes inaccurate stereotypes.”
GOP county chairman Jacey Jetton offered “sincerest apologies” in a Wednesday statement, while Olson campaign manager Craig Lewellyn says “Pete agrees” the ad “should have been more respectful.”
This story has been updated to correct the spelling of the county Republican Party chairman’s last name.
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