Over the weekend, Richard Lui of MSNBC did a nice profile of William Tong, a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut. I had first blogged about Tong back last November when his campaign reached out to 8Asians.
Back in March, I actually had a chance to meet Tong when he was making a West Coast swing raising money and reaching out to the Asian American community. He told his compelling story of his father coming to the United States looking to build a new life and meeting his future wife at a restaurant in Connecticut. Later, his parents would start their own restaurant and Tong would help in that restaurant while growing up and would go on to study at Phillips Academy Andover, Brown University and the University of Chicago Law School (where he had Barack Obama as a law professor).
The news story also goes on to state that a record number of Asian American mayors were elected into office since the last election – 13 Asian Americans in Congress and 44 as mayors across the country. Asian Americans running for office are understanding (to no surprise) that Asian American candidates must appeal beyond their natural ethnic constituents. However, I think the reason has more to do with more and more first generation Asian Americans being born-and-raised in the United States and the natural maturation of political engagement given that most Asian Americans entered the United States after immigration reform in the mid-1960s.
In the Democratic primary, there are currently five candidates running for the Connecticut Senate seat being vacated by Senator Joseph Lieberman. The nominating convention will be held on May 12. Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by a wide margin in Connecticut, but most registered voters are unaffiliated. Currently, there are two Asian Americans in the U.S. Senate, and they are both from Hawaii – Senators Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka. Best of luck to Tong!