A record number of Asian-American and Pacific Island candidates are running for national office this November, according to Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS), a nonprofit, nonpartisan group advocating for the demographic’s political involvement.
This November, 22 Asian and Pacific Island candidates are running for Congress in 12 states and territories, nearly doubling the number of candidates who ran in 2008. The candidates skew left: Sixteen of them are running as Democrats, five as Republicans, and one as an Independent.
The surge of Asians and Pacific Islanders comes amid a country-wide surge of minority representation, much of which leans left. 2014 is also a record year for black candidates, too; with 82 nominees running this year, the majority — 64 —are Democrats. Many speculate that the growing number of minority voters -- and their Democratic tilt -- will turn the country blue as the population of white voters shrinks.
Republicans -- who saw minorities help elect the president in 2012 -- have vowed to better woo minority voters to try and combat this trend.
Asian and Pacific Islander are the largest growing demographic of voters, adding 600,000 new registered voters every midterm cycle, according to a study by Asian Americans Advancing Justice. They're oft-ignored, too: Sixty-six percent of those surveyed had not been reached out to by Democrats; 74% had not been in contact with Republicans.
“The record breaking AAPI [Asian American and Pacific Islander] candidacies in the 2014 election is a strong indication that the AAPI community is ready to step up to the plate instead of staying on the sidelines,” APAICS President/CEO Floyd Mori said in a release.
The Advancing Justice study found that while the group leans Democrat among partisan, a plurality of Asian and Pacific Islanders identify as as “Independent” or “don’t know," a number that may attract party outreach in the future.
On a local level, 159 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are running for state legislatures across the country, signaling that the growth on the national level will continue as more run for office on a local level, often a pipeline for higher office.