Asian American Candidates Lead in the City Council Primaries; John C. Liu in Close Race for City Comptroller

Rob Bennett for NYTBeside the traditional worlds of science and math, Asian Americans are starting to make their mark in the political sphere as well. In New York City,  three Asian American candidates won the Democratic City Council primaries: Margaret S. Chin in the 1st Council District, Kevin D. Kim in the 19th Council District, and Yen S. Chou in the 20th Council District.

And to top it off, John C. Liu, who is the first and only Asian American member of the City Council in New York, came in a close race for city comptroller, winning 38 percent of the vote, ahead of Councilman David Yassky, who won 30 percent.

Just last night, the two candidates Liu and Yassky, had quite a heated hour-long final debate at the NY1 News studio. Known for his outspokenness and status as a trailblazer, Liu would become the first Asian American elected citywide if he wins in the runoff on Sept. 29.

Liu immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan at the age of five, attended the Bronx High School of Science and graduated from Binghamton University with a degree in mathematical physics.

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund recently conducted an exit poll in five City Council districts, each with substantial Asian American populations, and found that Asian voters staunchly supported Liu. Out of the 790 Asian American participants in the poll, an astounding 84 percent supported Liu.

The growing Asian American presence in public office elections shows how Asian representation in politics is on the rise — amazing for a minority that only makes up about five percent of the overall population today.

It’s phenomenal and inspiring to see Asian Americans lead the way in the city election — especially in a city as diverse as New York City. As these candidates break new grounds, we can witness a greater voice from the Asian community.

Photo of John C. Liu by Rob Bennett for the New York Times