Wednesday, November 7, 2012

AAPIs Make Historic Gains on Election Day

Historic day for AAPIs throughout the nation.  In California, the API Caucus held their position as the 2nd largest ethnic caucus in the state legislature with eleven members by winning 4 seats - Rob Bonta (AD18), Phil Ting (AD19), Ed Chau (AD49), and Al Muratsuchi (AD66).  Only two of these seats were previously held by AAPIs.  The API Caucus lost one targeted race in AD20 with Dr. Jennifer Ong who was new to campaigning but has a bright political future.

The following four State Assembly members won re-election: Mariko Yamada (AD4), Richard Pan (AD9), Paul Fong (AD28), and Das Williams (AD37).  The following state senators were not up for re-election: Ted Lieu, Carol Liu, Leland Yee.

The Asian American Small Business PAC spent in excess of $100,000 in direct donations and independent expenditures this cycle to support many of the candidates that won.  AASB PAC sponsored IEs in support of Bonta, Ting, Ong, Chau, Muratsuchi, and Fong.  The only race AASB PAC narrowly lost was in AD20 with Dr. Jennifer Ong.  Mail and consulting for these races were provided by Ron Wong at Imprenta Communications and Chris Norem Consulting.

Special notes:  San Francisco Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting weathered a $500,000 plus negative campaign onslaught from the wealthy Stanford legacy alum and Goldman Sachs scion of a US Supreme Court justice (Stephen Breyer) Michael Breyer to hold onto San Francisco's AAPI legislative seat.  Progressive AAPIs, environmentalists and animal advocates rallied behind Assemblyman Paul Fong when shark fin industry special interests launched a late attack on him for authoring the bill to ban shark fin in California. Lastly, Democrat Ed Chau fought off Republican millionaire and a million dollar attack campaign by JOBSPAC with nearly $100,000 from oil companies to hold the only majority AAPI legislative seat in California.

Big gains were made on the federal level with historic wins in Hawaii, California and New York.  U.S. Representative Mazie Hirono will now be U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono - the first Asian American woman to serve in the United States Senate.  Tulsi Gabbard, who will be the first Hindu (she's Pacific Islander) will be replacing Hirono in the House of Representatives.  Mark Takano will be the first LGBT AAPI to serve in Congress from Riverside, California and Grace Meng will be the first Chinese American woman to represent New York in Congress.

Decorated war hero Tammy Duckworth won a congressional seat in Illinois.

In one of the most epic battles in the nation, Dr. Ami Bera defeated U.S. Rep. Dan Lungren in Sacramento, California.

Republican Ricky Gill's hard fought race in California's central valley to unseat Rep. Jerry McNerney was unsuccessful.  Democratic  AAPI candidates Nate Shinagawa (NY), Jay Chen (CA), Sukhee Kang (CA), Otto Lee (CA), and Manan Trivedi (PA) were also unsuccessful.

The returning AAPI members of Congress include: U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye and U.S. Representatives Judy Chu (CA), Doris Matsui (CA), Mike Honda (CA), Bobby Scott (VA), Eni Faleomavaega (American Samoa), Gregorio Sablan (Northern Marianas), and Colleen Hanabusa (HI).

In her first cycle as chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Rep. Judy Chu sends a strong message to the political world with these election day victories.

According to CCN exit polls, AAPIs broke 73-26 in favor of re-electing President Barack Obama.  A big victory for Obama's AAPI Vote Director Alissa Ko and rising political star in Democratic Party politics.

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