GOP And Dems Strongly Courting Nevada’s Asian And Pacific Islander Voters
They are the fastest growing racial or ethnic group in the United States and make up more than 10% of the population in five separate states, including Nevada, one of the key battleground regions in the midterm election. With large Chinese and Filipino populations, the nicknamed Silver State claims about 350,000 Asian American residents of voting age who have grown into a critical constituency for both Republicans and Democrats — particularly in the state’s fiercely contested 3rd Congressional District, which has emerged as one of the most expensive congressional races in the nation.
The GOP and Democrat Party have been studying how their respective stances on hot-button issues including the economy, inflation, crime and abortion resonate with Asian American and Pacific Islander residents, who are largely concentrated in neighborhoods west and southwest of the Las Vegas Strip.
The Republican Congressional Leadership Fund spent $10.9 million campaigning in the Asian Pacific Islander (API) district,more than any other in the nation. The Democrat House Majority PAC spent $3.4 million in target messages to the same area, according to data supplied by California Target Book, which follows federal campaign finance filings.
Nevada’s Democratic-controlled legislature prioritized uniting the Asian American community into the 3rd District when it redrew the state’s political maps last year without Republican support. Asian Americans now account for 21% of the voting-age population within the district.
Based on long-held assumptions, the district now leans bluer than it did before, although the new lines may backfire.
After exceeding their expectations for APIs in 2020, Republicans focused more attention this election cycle on developing support networks in locales including southwest Las Vegas, where the Republican National Committee six months ago established an “Asian Pacific American Community Center” to anchor its outreach to API voters
Republicans are more than ever publishing campaign materials in Chinese, Hindi, Korean and Vietnamese — and advertising on local media Filipino radio station PHLV and in community newspapers such as the Philippine Times of South Nevada, the bimonthly Korea Times Las Vegas and the Asian Journal of Las Vegas, where RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel published an op-ed last month with the headline, “Filipino Americans Strengthen Our Country. Democrats Don’t.”
Similar “get-out-the-vote” efforts have been part of the Democrat playbook in API communities for generations. For the current election season, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is running abortion and hate crime-focused ads throughout Nevada, including messaging in Tagalog, to underscore the differences between Democrat U.S. Representative Susie Lee and her GOP opponent, April Becker. The Democrats have been running ads in the same community media outlets focused on by Republicans
Republicans have said their emphasis this year on public safety will secure positive gains in the API communities, amid a string of anti-Asian hate attacks .They also hope turnout will be spurred by the experience of Asian American students in college admissions, which is at the center of a high-profile affirmative action case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Janelle Wong, a University of Maryland professor who co-directs the research group AAPI Data, told the Associated Press both parties have contacted more voters this time around than in past elections.
She added that even though Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are diverse linguistically, economically and politically, survey data nonetheless show API voters are fairly united around certain issues, such as their support of access to reproductive health care.
Still, even though Democrats have made abortion a centerpiece of their midterm campaigns since the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June, Wong told the AP, Republicans may still be able to motivate enough voters around the issues of crime and the slow economy to win decisive races by a few thousand votes.
“If their goal is to eat away at the Democratic bloc and if the past is any indication, they could be successful,” she said.