Friday, November 10, 2006

Release: Over 75% of AAAFund's Picks Win Races

Says Results Signal Dramatic Rise in Asian American Political Clout

WASHINGTON, D.C. / November 8, 2006 — Of the 25 candidates that the AAA-Fund endorsed for 2006, at least 20 have won, 4 have lost, and 2 are still in contests too close to call. All candidates are either Asian American, or are located in districts with significant Asian American populations.

"With Democrats taking the House and the Senate at the national level, and making significant inroads on the state level, our AAA-Fund-endorsed candidates will play a key role in changing the direction of this country," said Erika L. Moritsugu, Executive Director of the AAA-Fund. "Our candidates understand that a stronger America is possible, but only if our security and quality of life are assured. And we get that security by having better health care, better education, and better jobs. The AAA-Fund looks forward to working with all of our endorsed leaders."

In particular, AAA-Fund endorsed a number of federal candidates who prevailed: Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI); Congressmember-elect Mazie Hirono (HI-2nd Dist.), who defeated her Republican challenger by 20 percentage points; Congressmembers Mike Honda (D-CA) and Doris Matsui (D-CA), who each garnered 71% of the vote; Congressmember Bobby Scott (D-VA); Congressmember-elect Joe Sestak (PA-7th Dist.), who defeated GOP incumbent Curt Weldon by over ten percentage points; Congressmember David Wu (OR-1); and Senator-elect Ben Cardin (D-MD), who defeated Michael Steele by ten percentage points. Finally, in one of the nation's most thrilling contests, former Navy Secretary Jim Webb apparently defeated Virginia Senator George Allen by a razor-thin margin of 0.3%.

What is more, Asian American Democrats won high-profile state races across the nation. In California, John Chiang will become the first Asian American State Controller and the fourth Asian Pacific American to serve in a statewide office. Also in the Golden State, Ted Lieu, Mike Eng, Fiona Ma, Mary Hayashi, and Alberto Torrico were elected to the State Assembly; Judy Chu and Betty Yee were elected to the State Board of Equalization; and Leland Yee became the first Asian American to serve in the California State Senate.

Across the coast in
Maryland, House Majority Leader Kumar Barve and House Deputy Whip Susan Lee were handily re-elected; and Kris Valderrama and Saqib Ali were elected to the House in their first try for public office. In Minnesota, Senate Majority Whip Mee Moua, Majority Senate Whip Satveer Chaudhary, and State Representative Cy Thao coasted to re-election. Furthermore, Swati Dandekar (IA), Jay Goyal (OH), Raj Goyle (KS), William Tong (CT), and Hubert Vo (TX) easily won their respective races for State Representative.

Races that are still too close to call include those for Washington State congressional candidate Darcy Burner (WA-8), who maintained a razor-thin margin over GOP incumbent David Reichert (whose campaign has stated that it did not reach out to Asian American voters), 50.26% to 49.58%. In Guam, neither Democratic gubernatorial nominee Robert Underwood nor his GOP rival secured a majority of the vote, and a run-off election is likely.

Candidates endorsed by the AAA-Fund that did not win included congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth (IL-6), who lost an extremely close race to Peter Roskam, 51.3% to 48.7%. Challengers Phil Angelides (candidate for California Governor), congressional candidate T.J. Cox (CA-19), and Texas House candidate Phillip Shinoda also did not prevail.

"We are honored to have such a qualified slate of candidates this year," said Gautam Dutta, National Endorsements Chair of the AAA-Fund. "Regardless of the outcome of particular races, these candidates had the courage and the commitment to fight for a better America. Our candidates this cycle are indicative of a broader trend: That Asian Americans are increasingly becoming politically engaged in areas outside of traditional strongholds like Hawaii and California. This is going to be particularly important in 2008, and especially in Nevada."

In Nevada, which recently became one of the early-primary states in the 2008 presidential election, 4.6% of the voting-age population is Asian American. Between 1990 and 2000, the population of Nevada increased by 66%, but the Asian American population increased at a rate almost four times as large.

The AAA-Fund ( is a national Democratic political organization whose goal is to increase the voice of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in local, state and federal government, by encouraging APAs to volunteer on campaigns, raise money for candidates, and run for political office.