25 AAPI Congressional Candidates in Key Races
Washington, D.C.–This year’s record number of 25 Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) congressional candidates, who come from both parties, could affect the balance of power in the next Congress, currently dominated by the Democrats.
The report was published in the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) website. Ten of the AAPI congressional contenders are on the national party committees’ radar screens as key races because they could alter the balance of power in the next Congress, the report noted.
They are Senate candidate Mazie Hirono, House candidates Ricky Gill, Ami Bera, Mark Takano,Tammy Duckworth, Manan Trivedi, emerging candidates Blong Xiong and Nathan Shinagawa, and Steve Hobbs and Darshan Rauniyar, who are vying for a seat in a crowded primary.
The candidates represent a large and diverse swath of the AAPI community. Seven are Indian Americans, four are Chinese Americans, three are Japanese Americans, two are Korean Americans, and a Hmong American, a Taiwanese American, a Nepali-American and a Native Hawaiian. Another three are mixed race. Four candidates are Republicans, with the remainder running as Democrats.
In addition to Asian American hub states like California, Hawaii, Michigan, New York and Texas, the candidates also hail from Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Washington.
The complete list of AAPI candidates follows: Congresswoman Mazie Hirono (D), U.S. Senate HI; Dr. Ami Bera (D), CA-07; Ranjit “Ricky” Gill (R), CA-09; Blong Xiong (D), CA-21; Otto Lee (D), CA-22; Justin Kim (D), CA-31; Sukhee Kang (D), CA-45; Jay Chen (D), CA-39; Mark Takano (D), CA-41; Vipin Verma (D), FL-06; Charles Djou (R), HI-01; Muliufi Francis “Mufi” Hannemann (D), HI-02; Tulsi Gabbard (D), HI-02; Esther Kia’aina (D), HI-02; Tammy Duckworth (D), IL-08; Dr. Syed Taj (D), MI-11; Upendra Chivukula (D), NJ-07;
Grace Meng (D), NY-06; Nathan Shinagawa (D), NY-23; Dr. Manan Trivedi (D), PA-06; Ron Bhalla (R), TN-3; Joe Chow (R), TX-06; K.P. George (D), TX-22; Steve Hobbs (D), WA-01; Darshan Rauniyar (D), WA-01.
In the 2008 and 2010 election cycles, six to eight AAPI candidates ran for Congress. This year, the number has tripled. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have also seen the fastest and most dramatic increases in their numbers in the last 10 years, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.
To capitalize on the dramatic increase of AAPI elected officials and candidates, state and federal AAPI legislators from across the country have formed on May 8 the “APAICS Leadership Network.”
The Network is the first of its kind to unite AAPI elected and appointed officials, incumbents and challengers from across the political spectrum. It will provide support and training to AAPI policymakers and candidates. It is affiliated with APAICS, which promotes civic participation and leadership development.
Currently, two AAPIs serve in the U.S. Senate and ten serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, including delegates from American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands. Since 1903, there have been five AAPI U.S. Senators and 21 AAPI U.S. Representatives along with 20 Delegates and Resident Commissioners representing territories.
Founders of the APAICS Leadership Network see involvement at the local and state levels as important to increasing Asian American and Pacific Islander political participation at the federal level.
“Making sure local excitement leads to cadres of AAPI policymakers at the state and federal level is a key goal of the APAICS Leadership Network,” said Washington State Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos, chair of the National Asian Pacific American Caucus of State Legislators and a founding board member of the network.
“Politics is a tough business and this network will help us ensure that, through mentoring, networking and support, no AAPI leader falls through the cracks,” he stressed.
“As more and more AAPIs get interested in and run for local and state offices, they become role models which in turn fuels the next generation of AAPI policymakers,” said Evan Low, founding board member and the president of the National League of Cities' Asian Pacific American Municipal Officials.