November 24, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Shankar Duraiswamy (908.507.2949) or Dian Herrman (240.499.5937)
Two-Thirds of AAA-Fund Endorsed Candidates Win
WASHINGTON, DC / Nov. 24, 2008 ― Twenty-five of the 38 AAA-Fund candidates – including President-Elect Barack Obama – have won their 2008 races, with two others in races too close to call.
“We endorsed a record number of candidates this past year, running for offices in every region of the country,” said Gautam Dutta, Executive Director of the AAA-Fund. “Our candidates helped herald a new direction for America, one that promises to be more inclusive and attentive to the pressing issues of the day, from health care for the uninsured to ensuring the nation’s long-term security.”
AAA-Fund-backed candidates ran in federal, state, and local races in 16 states and two U.S. territories, including ten candidates in California, five in Texas, three in Virginia, two each in Hawaii, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Oregon, and one each in Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, American Samoa, and Guam.
Five endorsees were elected as new members to Congress. Senator-elect Jeff Merkley defeated Republican incumbent Gordon Smith in Oregon by three points. Congressmembers-elect Dina Titus (NV-3), Gary Peters (MI-9), Glenn Nye (VA-2), and Gerry Connolly (VA-11) won in the House.
Other endorsees in congressional races also fared well. Congressmember Doris Matsui (CA-6) won 74.5% in her race, while Mike Honda (CA-15) won nearly 72% of the votes in his district. Congressmember David Wu (OR-1) took 71.9% of the vote in Oregon. In Hawaii, Congressmembers Neil Abercrombie (HI-1) and Mazie Hirono (HI-2) both won reelection by large margins. Congressmember Joe Sestak (PA-7) won nearly 60% of the vote in Pennsylvania. Congressmembers Jerry McNerney (CA-11), Al Green (TX-9), Xavier Becerra (CA-31), Bobby Scott (VA-3), Eni Faleomavaega (American Samoa), and Madeleine Bordallo (Guam) also retained their seats.
In state contests, Swati Dandekar won election to the Iowa State Senate with 54%, after having served in the state house since 2002 as Iowa’s first Asian American to hold statewide office. Jay Goyal took 64% of the vote in his reelection to the Ohio House. Over in Connecticut, William Tong won reelection to the State House. Down in Texas, State Representative Hubert Vo took 56% in his reelection bid. Out west, Paul Fong was elected to the California State Legislature, while Warren Furutani already clinched his seat to the legislature in February when he won a Democratic primary runoff election. Ted Lieu also won re-election to the California Assembly.
Though they did not prevail this time, new Asian American candidates for Congress made a respectable showing. Ashwin Madia lost by less than seven points in Minnesota, while Edwin Chau and Hank Eng each garnered 40 percent of the vote in congressional contests in California and Colorado, respectively.
Al Franken’s Senate race in Minnesota against Republican incumbent Norm Coleman remains too close to call, while fellow endorsee Charlie Brown trails Republican Tom McClintock by just 622 votes with 25,000 provisional and absentee ballots left to be counted in his bid for one of California’s congressional seats.
Other endorsed candidates who fell short this election include U.S. senatorial candidate Rick Noriega (D-TX), congressional candidates Darcy Burner (CA-8), Nick Lampson (TX-22), Dan Seals (IL-10), and Linda Stender (NJ-7), Texas House of Representatives of candidate Sandra VuLe, Somerset County (NJ) Freeholder candidate Cecilia Birge, and Santa Clara County (CA) Supervisor candidate Otto Lee.
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.