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Chili Runs in Cincinnati

Former P&G Brand Manager, 'Apprentice' Reject Aims for Office

By Published on .

Surya Yalamanchili, a former Procter & Gamble Co. brand manager perhaps known best for being fired by Donald Trump on season six of "The Apprentice," now wants to be hired by the people of Ohio's second Congressional district.

Mr. Yalamanchili, 28, has returned to Cincinnati to run as an independent after stints as a marketing director at LinkedIn and SocialMedia.com.

His "Apprentice" fame has helped an independent and seeming long shot secure a feature on the front page of CQpolitics.com. Given his background, he hopes to use social media, but he's planning plenty of traditional flesh-pressing, too. His campaign website, VoteChili.com, is a play both on his name and Cincinnati's affection for its own style of chili.

The seat he seeks has been held by Republican Jeanne Schmidt since 2005, but not firmly. She's faced substantial challenges in her past three primaries and general elections in a once-safe Republican district. She's best known for dressing in American flag garb for a November 2005 debate as well as aiming this message at congressional colleague John Murtha: "Cowards cut and run. Marines never do."

Ms. Schmidt won in 2008 in a field that included a centrist, fiscally conservative independent who got 18% of the vote. This time, that independent, David Krikorian, is running in the Democratic primary against Todd Book, favored by party leaders.

Mr. Yalamanchili looks to play on what he sees as growing disaffection with both parties. He's eschewing PAC contributions and laying out a centrist agenda that includes calling for an independent commission to recommend cuts in entitlement programs and other spending.

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