September 19, 2022
Two years after Asian American voters played a pivotal role in the presidential election, a coalition focused on building Asian American political power and engagement is launching a new $10 million midterm mobilization effort in critical battleground states, reports The New York Times.
The Asian American Power Network—a coalition of Democratic organizations seeking to activate Asian American voters around progressive issues and candidates—is kicking off the initiative across six swing states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. The network is also training its eyes on three competitive House districts in California—two in Southern California and one in the Central Valley.
“Asian American voters have been progressive” in some recent presidential elections, Nadia Belkin, the executive director of the network, said. “It’s no secret, though, that some of the Asian American voters do tend to be more swingy in the midterms. That’s why our group is spending a lot of time on the ground.”
“Organizing our community,” she added, “requires a cultural understanding and nuance.” The network is an effort to support state organizations that are working on year-round engagement of Asian Americans.
The midterms-focused initiative includes door-to-door canvassing and outreach by phone, text, mail, and digital engagement in an array of languages. Aspects of the programming got underway earlier this month.
In Pennsylvania the goal is to conduct voter outreach in 15 languages total, in support of Democratic candidates like Josh Shapiro, the Democratic nominee for governor, and John Fetterman, who is running for Senate.
In North Carolina, efforts to engage Asian American voters will be conducted in 18 different languages across different media, including educational videos about voting.
And the political arm of the Georgia affiliate is mobilizing for Stacey Abrams, who is running for governor, as well as for Senator Raphael Warnock, both Democrats.
In 2020, Asian American voters turned out in significant numbers in Georgia, as Democrats flipped the state first in the presidential election and then, in 2021, in a pair of runoff elections that cemented Democratic control of the Senate.
But that result does not mean that the party has a lock on Asian American voters—a diverse and complex constituency—this year.
A survey conducted this summer for the AARP by a bipartisan polling team of Fabrizio Ward and Impact Research found that in congressional battleground districts, Democrats were underperforming among Asian American voters over age 50 compared with past elections.
However, the Asian American Voter Survey, a large-scale poll, found earlier this year that Asian Americans leaned toward supporting Democratic House candidates by a margin of 54% to 27% overall, numbers that varied notably by individual constituencies.
Belkin emphasized the importance of engaging the Asian American voters who turned out for the first time in 2020.
“We do have a responsibility around talking to those voters about what’s at stake,” she said. “We have good rapport with many portions of the community, but I would say, you know, just like any other demographic bloc, we are working to do more and make sure that it’s sustained.”
Research contact: @nytimes