Report highlights influence of Asian Americans in New York 3rd Congressional district


A new report titled, “The Growing Influence of Asian Voters: A Case Study of Congressional District 3,” released on May 30, 2024, by the Asian American Federation (AAF), New York, has examined the rising impact of Asian American voters in New York’s 3rd Congressional District, while underscoring the importance of “nuanced and culturally competent outreach” to effectively engage this voting demographic.

The 3rd district, home to a socially and economically diverse group of voters, spanning from northeastern Queens to the suburbs of Nassau County, is poised to be a key early indicator of the outcome of the 2024 general elections this November. The report looked into factors such as, “voting trends and patterns from the 2022 general election to the 2024 special election, illustrating a significant shift in party-line voter turnout among this key demographic,” noted a statement from AAF.

“Asian Americans have emerged as the fastest-growing racial group in the district, now representing a sizable portion of the electorate. The report points out that their participation was pivotal in determining electoral outcomes in District 3 in 2022 and 2024, reflecting their increasing political clout and civic engagement,” the statement added while elaborating that the report explored outreach strategies adopted by Tom Souzzi’s 2024 special election campaign and the manner in which these strategies effectively engaged Asian American and Pacific Islanders voters, who ultimately contributed to his victory.

The report underscores several key findings such as, “In the 2024 special election, turnout among Asian American voters was decisive in shaping the outcome of Suozzi’s race, highlighting their impact in tight races; Outreach to Asian voters was crucial for both parties, especially considering that 37 [per cent] were registered as independent, and the narrow vote margins in both 2022 and 2024; and even in elections with lower turnout rates, unaffiliated voters had a decisive impact on the results.”

“For years, the Asian American community’s influence in our nation’s political process has been increasing. Unfortunately, many campaigns still struggle to effectively communicate with, and educate Asian American voters. Culturally appropriate outreach isn’t just helpful—it is essential for any candidate wanting to genuinely connect with our diverse communities,” said Executive Director of AAF, Jo-Ann Yoo. “As we look ahead to 2024 and beyond, our focus is on ensuring that voter outreach programs respect and reflect the cultural dynamics of Asian American voters. We are a civically active community, and our impact on election outcomes will only continue to grow.”

According to the report, communities with large populations of Chinese, Korean, and South Asian Americans provided substantial support for “candidates who actively and consistently engaged with their diverse issues and concerns.”

The report highlighted that although the 3rd district has historically been a Republican stronghold, Democrats held representation from 2012 to 2022. Nevertheless, it pointed out, even during the tenure of Democrats, the district’s political inclinations varied influenced by both national patterns and local issues with neither party maintaining a distinct advantage.

Pointing out to the district’s turnout rates in the 2022 general election, the report stressed the tight race between Republican George Santos and Democrat Robert Zimmerman highlighting the competitive nature of the district. “In this election Santos won with 52.1 [per cent] of the vote, garnering a substantial lead over Zimmerman’s 44.8 [per cent]. The shift back to Republican control in the district after a decade may be attributed to the influence of broader national politics, which saw Republican gains across the country.”

But, in the light of Santos facing criticism for his involvement in fraudulent schemes and his subsequent exit from Congress, a special election was held on February 13, 2024, to fill his seat.

“After the compressed three-month special election cycle, Tom Suozzi went on to win the election against Republican opponent, Mazi Pilip, by an 8-point margin, garnering 53.8 [per cent] of the vote compared to Pilip’s 45.8 [per cent]. This marked a significant 16-point swing for the Democrats from the 2022 election, when Santos had won the seat with an 8-point lead.”

The report also found that Democrats and Republicans are actively pursuing Asian voters in the district, thereby setting a potential precedent for upcoming political campaigns. The Asian community is developing in both political influence and population, yet it is frequently overlooked in political evaluations. It further emphasized that many Asian American voters are new to voting and advocated for a “sustained interaction and education on the importance of civic engagement.”

“Contrary to stereotypes, Asian Americans weigh a range of issues—from healthcare to housing—when making voting decisions, challenging the idea that they are single-issue voters. Genuine, ongoing engagement with Asian communities proves more effective rather than sporadic contact,” the report maintained while adding “Suozzi’s successful adoption of this approach during the 2024 special election sets a new standard for political campaigns, especially in areas poised to be fiercely contested in the near future.”



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