HomeAsian AmericansBreakthroughs and Stumbles for Asian Americans in Local Races

Breakthroughs and Stumbles for Asian Americans in Local Races

Ed LeeThe nation’s two highest profile Asian American mayors are making news this week.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced he will seek a second term, reports KCBS. A poll taken in May shows Lee has an approval rating of 65 percent from voters. Yet a more recent poll shows State Senator Mark Leno leading Lee in a possible match up. Leno has indicated he is considering a run, but has not made a formal announcement.

Earlier this week, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan conceded to challenger Libby Schaff. Quan lost in a ranked choice voting format which asks voters to list their top three candidates. Under a complicated system, the last place candidate is eliminated and their votes are redistributed to the second and third choices until one candidate has a majority of votes.

After 14 elimination rounds, Schaff was elected.

“I have been proud to be Oakland’s first woman and Asian American mayor and I thank Oaklanders for the opportunity to bring the city through these tough times,” Quan was quoted as saying by the San Francisco Chronicle.  ” “She (Schaff) inherits a city where crime is down, unemployment is down, city finances are strong, police reforms are near completion, and the economic renaissance is well under way.”

In San Diego, Chris Cate became the first Asian American elected to the city council in nearly 50 years.

“Our voice is being heard in the community,” said local business owner Tress Balch to NBC San Diego.  “We are coming together now where we used to be always separate. You know, there was the Chinese community, there was a Korean community, there was a Filipino community, the Japanese community. Now we’re being heard as one voice.”

In Oklahoma City, Republican Ervin Yen was elected to the Oklahoma State Legislature.

“I did not do this to be the first Asian American in the State Legislature, but I think it’s huge,” said Yen on Wednesday to Oklahoma 6.  “My parents have both passed away, but I think they would be very, very proud.”

In Southern California, Republicans were able to make inroads into the Asian American community.  Republicans Janet Nguyen in the 34th state Senate District and Young Kim in the 65th Assembly District won seats, reports KPCC.

The Koream Journal reports that at least 13 Korean Americans won local seats.

India West reports at least 9 Indian American won state legislative races. Among them was 23-year old Niraj Antani who will be the youngest to serve.




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