HomeChinese AmericanAd campaign target AAPI voters in Steel vs. Chen race

Ad campaign target AAPI voters in Steel vs. Chen race

by Akemi Tamanaha, Associate Editor

As the November 2022 elections loom, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is hoping to mobilize AAPI voters in Orange County against Republican Congresswoman Michelle Steel.

The Korean American incumbent is running against Democratic hopeful Jay Chen to keep her seat in California’s 45th district. Chen is a former lieutenant commander of the U.S. Naval Reserves.

In late July, the DCCC announced a seven-figure investment in digital, print and radio advertising to engage with AAPI voters. A six-figure sum within that investment has gone towards digital ads.

At the beginning of August, the DCCC released two of those digital ads targeting Rep. Steel. According to Census data, Steel and Chen are running in a district where 26.1 percent of residents are Asian. The DCCC sees AAPI voters as a valuable voting bloc in the upcoming elections. Allen Chen, AAPI Senior Advisor at the DCCC, told AsAmNews that the DCCC partnered with ASPIRE PAC, the political arm of Asian American and Pacific Islander Members of Congress, to create ads with “messages that resonate in [the AAPI] community.”

The “Party Over People” ad reminds voters Steel apologized for sponsoring a bipartisan bill to address anti-Asian American hate crimes. The Congresswoman received criticism from the GOP for working with Democrats to stop anti-Asian hate. An ad titled “Favorite Word” tells voters Steel voted against infrastructure investments that would have repaired roads and brought jobs to their district. It also states that Steel voted against legislation that aimed to stop oil companies from hiking up gas prices.

Chen says that Democrats and the DCCC want the AAPI community to feel seen.

“It’s our intention to show the AAPI community that Democrats and the DCCC see and understand that they as a community are facing many of the same issues as the rest of America. We want voters to know that Democrats are focused on delivering solutions now, while Republicans like Michelle Steel vote against cost-cutting measures to lower the cost of prescription drugs and hold oil companies accountable for price gouging Americans,” Chen said in an email interview with AsAmNews.

The Republican party says the attacks on Steel are “shameless.”

“Jay Chen is totally out of touch and has made shameless, racist attacks against Congresswoman Steel and refuses to apologize. While the Asian American community in CA-45 suffers from Joe Biden’s recession, skyrocketing prices, and rising crime, Michelle Steel’s proven leadership inspires her community and CA-45 is going to show up in force and reelect her in November,” RNC Spokesperson and Director of APA Media Nainoa Johsens said in a statement to AsAmNews.

The DCCC intends to continue producing ads like the two it has run about Steel. The organization understands its efforts to engage the AAPI community must be consistent, not just a few weeks before an election.

“The DCCC will continue to engage AAPI voters at the doors, on the phones, on the airwaves, and on the platforms they use to make the contrast between MAGA Republicans and Democrats clear: while extremists like Michelle Steel are focused on a dangerous agenda to ban abortion without exceptions and line the pockets of their donors and special interests, Democrats like Jay Chen are actually tackling inflation and fighting to protect Americans’ fundamental rights for all,” Chen said in an email to AsAmNews.

AsAmNews is incorporated in the state of California as Asian American Media, Inc, a non-profit with 501c3 status. Check out our Instagram account. Go to our Twitter feed and Facebook page for more content. Please consider interning, joining our staff, or submitting a story, or making a tax-deductible financial contribution. We are committed to the highest ethical standards in journalism. Please report any typos or errors to info at AsAmNews dot com.


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