AAPI Victory Fund and AAPI Coalition Partners Endorse Terry McAuliffe, Hala Ayala and Mark Herring for 2021 Virginia State Leadership Races

by | Jun 30, 2021 | Uncategorized

WASHINGTON — Today, the AAPI Victory Fund and partner AAPI organizations, Korean Americans for Biden, Democratic Asian Americans of Virginia, They See Blue, Korean Americans for Organizing and South Asians for America (SAFA), publicly endorsed Virginia candidates Terry McAuliffe for governor, Hala Ayala for Lieutenant Governor and Mark Herring for Attorney General. 

As the AAPI Victory Fund continues to engage and empower progressive AAPI voters to be the margin of victory at all levels of the ballot, each candidate — all three of whom have pledged to prioritize concerns near and dear to the AAPI community such as stopping AAPI hate and investing in AAPI communities —will be critical in laying the groundwork to fortify, equitize and expand the political power of AAPIs across the state of Virginia for years to come. 

In the 2019 Virginia elections, AAPI turnout increased a staggering 241% from 2015. AAPI’s represented 2.1% of Virginia voters but 10% of the Virginia electorate. AAPI voters consistently punch above our weight.

AAPI Victory Fund President Varun Nikore issued the following statement: 

“We’re thrilled to throw our support behind candidates Terry McAuliffe, Hala Ayala and Mark Herring for Virginia’s 2021 legislative races. As Virginia’s rising electorate necessitates swift legislative change, the AAPI Victory Fund has full confidence that our endorsed candidates will rise to the occasion and keep the best interest of every constituent—especially that of our AAPI community—in mind.

“Throughout their tenure in public office, McAuliffe, Ayala and Herring have made clear their dedication to inclusion and diversity, and we at the AAPI Victory Fund are proud to endorse three outstanding candidates who are on the cutting-edge of racial, cultural and socioeconomic equity. We will spare no expense in ensuring that Virginia remains solidly blue. This is the most important election in Virginia history. AAPI voters were 10% of the electorate in 2019 in the Commonwealth. We will once again be the margin that carries our Democratic champions across the finish line today.”

Former Governor Terry McAuliffe issued the following statement: 

“As we build a strong post-COVID Virginia, we will need big, bold actions that lift up all Virginia families and create a strong economy where everyone can thrive. As Virginia’s 72nd Governor, I kept our Commonwealth open and welcoming for everyone while creating the New Virginia Economy – creating good paying jobs, bringing unemployment down in every city and council, and increasing personal income 14%.

 “But we also need to address the recent increase in violence toward the AAPI community and, as governor, I will stand firm with AAPI Virginians in calling out hate crimes and violence at every turn. Together with the AAPI Victory Fund and coalition partners, I will make sure Virginia continues to be an open and welcoming Commonwealth after this pandemic for all families.”

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring issued the following statement: 

“The concerns, hopes and dreams of the AAPI community have been at the forefront of my tenure as Virginia Attorney General, and I’m honored to have their endorsement as I run for re-election. Throughout COVID-19 and years fraught with misinformation, hatred and violence, I look forward to continuing to work towards a Virginia that equally supports, uplifts and reveres each one of our diverse communities. AAPI’s in Virginia are here to stay and have played a major role in shaping Virginia’s past and will continue to shape the future. I am honored to receive the endorsement of stellar AAPI advocacy groups and I promise to always hold those who perpetuate hate and violence accountable.”

Democratic Asian Americans of Virginia Chair Praveen Meyyan issued the following statement: 

“We’re beyond excited to publicly announce our support for candidates Terry McAuliffe, Hala Ayala and Mark Herring. As an organization dedicated to promoting the interests of AAPIs in support of progressive ideals, all three candidates have demonstrated unbreakable support for the AAPI community and are actively working towards a shared vision of an equitable, inclusive and diverse Virginia. We will be partners every step of the way and ensure that AAPI’s across the state are motivated and organized to keep Virginia blue.” 

Korean Americans for Biden Co-Chair Julia Kim Chun issued the following statement: 

“We’re excited to join the chorus of AAPI voices pledging support for candidates McAuliffe, Herring and Ayala. I can’t think of three candidates more qualified, more deserving and more prepared to take on the monumental task of leading Virginia and carving out space for the AAPI community.

“Beyond track records of allyship and responsiveness to the needs of our communities, these are candidates who we’ve known for many years and have earned our trust. Our organization is forever grateful for their support and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to support their campaigns togo on to lead Virginia into a more equitable and diverse future.”

They See Blue Co-founder Rajiv Bhateja issued the following statement: 

“As a proud part of the coalition that helped secure Democratic control of the White House, Senate and House of Representatives, we’re excited to shift our efforts and focus on one of the most important states in the country. Virginia has been a place where AAPI children can grow, businesses can succeed, and communities can live without hate. Terry McAuliffe, Hala Ayala and Mark Herring have continuously stood up for the AAPI community, spoken out against the wrongdoings against our members, and held space for the voices of our leaders and visionaries. It’s time we repay the favor and do everything in our power to help them win.

“We can’t wait to see what they accomplish next and are hopeful that, when elected, these candidates will continue to prioritize, listen to and uplift the AAPI community. Together, we have the opportunity to fortify and expand AAPI political power across federal, state and local legislative races across the country. That starts in Virginia today.”

South Asians for America (SAFA) National Director Neha Dewan issued the following statement: 

“Keeping Virginia blue is one of our top strategic imperatives, period. Going from a bellwether swing state to a Democratic trifecta took work and AAPI’s played a central role in this change. Virginia is a prime example of what happens when organizations and coalitions engage voters, meet voters where they are, and empower Virginians across the state to see the possibility that comes with champions and allies elected to serve our communities. This year, we’re thrilled to publicly endorse our AAPI allies Terry McAuliffe, Hala Ayala and Mark Herring for Virginia’s state leadership. The time is now. The cause has never been more important.

“Each candidate is uniquely qualified to support Virginia as the state’s legislative power continues to shift to better reflect the constituents they represent. At this perilous time for AAPI community members, we need champions occupying the most important seats in state government. Luckily, all three of these members are those champions. South Asians for America will continue to engage and expand the growing and diverse AAPI electorate. It is all hands on deck — we’re going to see another Democratic sweep in November.” 

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The AAPI Victory Fund is focused on mobilizing Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) eligible voters and moving them to the ballot box.