Republicans Trying to Win Over Asian American Voters in Virginia Governor’s Race

Although this is an off, non-presidential election coming around the corner in November, there is one governor’s race that politicos are watching closely, and that is the Virginia governor’s race – where we have former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe running against Republican State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Given that there recently was a federal government shutdown in D.C.’s backyard which affected many federal workers living in Virgina as well as the bumpy launch of, both the Democrats and Republicans see this race as a proxy on each other’s party and a foreshadowing of the Congressional races for Fall 2014.

Even as back as 2008, I had blogged about Virginia becoming a swing state, with the biggest potential swing of votes coming from the growing Washington, D.C. suburbs of Virginia population with more and more Asian Americans – who have usually been traditionally non-affiliated to a political party, yet often vote and lean Democratic. Virginia is definitely a battleground state – in 2012, Obama won 51% of the vote, versus Romney’s 48%.

Accordingly, the Republican National Committee is testing the waters on trying to swing the Asian American vote, says an article from Politico:

“The 30-second spot, running in the Washington, D.C., media market on WKTV, highlights the Democratic candidate’s ties to GreenTech Automotive, which allegedly tried to secure financing in exchange for helping investors get U.S. visas through a sister company. … RNC officials said they are spending about $90,000 to buy TV, radio and print ads across Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Indian and Filipino media ahead of the Nov. 5 off-year election. They hope to learn lessons from the commonwealth that will help sharpen similar efforts in the 2014 midterms and the 2016 presidential campaign.”

For the Korean voiceover portion of the ad attacking McAuliffe sounds like North Korean television voiceovers to me – very militaristic and hostile. In 2012 in Virginia, 72% of Asian Americans in voted for Obama, while only 26% voted for Romney. That is a huge, huge gap and I think it’s going to have to take more than a localized foreign language television political ad to convince Asian American voters to vote Republican. My bet is that both McAuliffe will win the governorship and that he’ll have a sizeable win with the Asian American vote, given 2012’s presidential election results. There’s nothing in Cuccinelli’s platform or record that would help heavily sway the Asian American vote. We’ll see soon!

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About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
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