Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Vote in Record Numbers: Returns Control of the House to the Democrats
Washington—This election cycle, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) voted at historical levels for Democratic candidates, and more AAPIs ran for office than ever before. AAPI Victory Fund congratulates our Mineta 16 candidates for running competitive, progressive campaigns across the country. These candidates are in swing or critical must-hold districts with significant AAPI voting populations.
“The 2018 midterm featured stunning upsets, highlighted by a late surge from voters in thoroughly red states, and served notice that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders will not tolerate bigoted and hateful rhetoric and policies that the President and Republicans are peddling,” said Shekar Narasimhan, chairman and co-founder of AAPI Victory Fund. “We are pleased of all of our Mineta 16 candidates for how they have run their campaigns. Our candidates embody the best of us, and after the midterms, our Congress will be more representative of the United States today.”
Mineta 16 candidates Ami Bera (CA07), Stephanie Murphy (FL07), Abigail Spanberger (VA07), Jennifer Wexton (VA10) and Betty Yee (CA Comptroller) won their elections. Andy Kim (NJ03) and Gina Ortiz Jones (TX23) are in races that are too close to call.
“AAPI Victory Fund has been on the ground to ensure our community is represented at the polls,” said Varun Nikore, president of AAPI Victory Fund. “Since 2014, AAPI voters have increased by another million, and AAPIs now make up more than five percent of the electorate in eight states and 108 congressional districts. We will continue this momentum as we head toward 2020. By necessity, AAPI candidates developed new ways to be competitive with far less money. Many targeted infrequent voters—particularly the young and people of color who the political pros write off as a waste of their time and money. The result was dramatic increases in turnout in race after race.”
The AAPI electorate has become the difference in more races across the country. In this election, the size and influence of our community is shown. AAPIs also favor more progressive candidates by 22 points. As a result, we are seeing more Democratic candidates mobilizing and engaging AAPI voters. However, more efforts are needed to ensure that AAPIs are included in political strategies for our progressive values to be realized in the 2020 Presidential Elections.
“The places where AAPIs made the most headway were in races far below the headline congressional and senatorial contests—for city and county councils, state legislatures, city attorney generals and the like,” said Narasimhan. “One part of the new form of politics is the growing development of organizations on the ground that are organizing AAPIs both around issues and elections. We plan to continue to support and to build upon these efforts, and to keep those who fought valiantly and may not have prevailed in 2018 engaged in the future.”