Presidential Campaigns Asian Update

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Barack Obama maintained a significant delegate lead in the Democratic race after the mixed results of the March 4 primaries, which included a win in Vermont.

In Texas, Obama appeared to win the counties that include the cities of Austin, Dallas and Houston — the latter twourban areas having high concentrations of AAPIs.


Ramey Ko (right) and Obama supporters

The Lone Star State is home to attorney Ramey Ko, who founded Asian Americans for Obama in early 2007 and was one of the first visible figures rallying AAPIs around Obama.

On Feb. 24, Bob Gee, former U.S. assistant secretary of fossil energy, represented Obama in a Houston debate focusing on Asian American issues.The weekend before, events were held at Houston’s Tallowood Korean Baptist Church and at the Saigon Houston Cultural Center, featuring supporters including Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu, Sen. Obama’s Harvard Law classmate Terrence Yang, Obama New York deputy director for Asian American outreach Hai Ninh, pledged delegate and the first Korean American Rhodes Scholar Monica Youn, and Houston Asian American Coalition’s K.C. Youn.Obama supporter Kal Penn headlined a voter registration party in Philadelphia on Feb. 26, registering students and young professionals to vote in the delegate-rich Pennsylvania primary on April 22.

— Cate Park and Keith Kamisug


Hillary is back and going all the way! On March 4, Clinton won the Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island primaries. Through it all, Hillary’s traveling Chief of Staff Huma Abedin keeps her boss on schedule and makes her South Asian community proud.


Clinton and her chief of staff, Huma Abedin


On Feb. 24, the Asian American Democrats of Texas held a lively debate between AAPI representatives of the Clinton and Obama campaigns in Houston. Gordon Quan, former mayor pro tem of Houston, represented the Clinton platform well.

On Feb. 25, Clinton announced the endorsement of Army Major General Antonio M. Taguba, the nation’s second Filipino American to reach the rank of flag officer. The general volunteered for phone-banking duty.

Chelsea Clinton was embraced at a Vietnamese church in Houston. The in-language outreach to the large Vietnamese/AAPI population in Houston has excited these voters.On March 4, Irene Bueno and Connie Lee held down the caucus fort in Houston. Congratulations to Junelle Cavero who led efforts in Ohio and to Roger Lau who led efforts in Rhode Island.

— Julie D. Soo

It has been my belief that we vote for a person who can exhibit wisdom, ability, and, most of all, intelligence and know-how. As of Tuesday, we know John McCain is the Republican nominee, and we will be excited to get him elected as president of this nation.


McCain and wife Cindy

The National Asian American Republican Coalition was started in 2000 to promote Asian Pacific Islanders’ concerns. The organization’s five demands to President George Bush and the Republican Party were as follows: appoint Asian Pacific Islanders to Cabinet positions; solve the Wen Ho Lee crisis; recognize APIAs’ involvement in politics and promote federal procurement abilities including jobs; recognize that APIAs are also Americans, therefore, we should be included in all opportunities and political activities.

In all of this, we have started to mobilize our community action group to motivate others to go out and vote, and also to register if they haven’t done so. On Election Day, drivers will pick up many non-driving voters, so they can vote and exercise their suffrage rights. I believe that this is the only way we can overcome the fear and timidity among Asian Americans during Election Day.

— Manny Wong

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