Clinton courts Asian-American vote

Updated: 2016-01-06 11:09

By Jack Freifelder in New York(China Daily USA)

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Hillary Clinton is reaching out to Asian American and Pacific Island voters to support her campaign for the White House.

The Democratic presidential front-runner will visit San Gabriel, California, on Thursday to launch "Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders for Hillary," the first of many events to "engage, energize and organize AAPI (Asian-American and Pacific Islander) voters," according to a statement from her campaign. San Gabriel's population of about 40,000 is 60.7 percent Asian, according to US Census figures.

There are 5.9 million registered Asian-American voters, according to a report by the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies. The report shows that within the next 25 years that figure will increase to 12.2 million.

 Clinton courts Asian-American vote

US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets audience members following a campaign town hall meeting in Concord, New Hampshire January 3, 2016. Brian Snyder / Reuters

The Democratic share of Asian-American votes has increased from 36 percent in 1992 to 64 percent in 2008. Clinton won the Asian vote during the 2008 Democratic primary in California against Senator Barack Obama, and he won 73 percent of the Asian-American vote in his 2012 presidential re-election

In her appearance in San Gabriel, about seven miles from Los Angeles, Clinton "will discuss what's at stake in this election for the AAPI community, and how she'll fight for them as president," according to a release from the campaign that promises "a number of events and activities that will engage, energize and organize AAPI voters."

Kansen Chu, a California state assemblyman, told China Daily that the events in California are meant to "build up excitement for Clinton".

"In recent years, we have seen more Asian Americans show interest in participating in politics," he said. "More people of Asian descent have been elected to city councils, especially in smaller cities.

"There are a considerable number of Asian Americans living in California, but voter turnout among them is still quite low," Chu added.

In San Gabriel Clinton will be joined by elected officials, including California Congresswoman Judy Chu, and local community leaders. Chu is the chairwoman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and the first Chinese-American woman elected to Congress.

During her two-day visit to the Golden State, Clinton will also attend fundraising events.

On Thursday, it will be a $2,700-per-person luncheon in San Gabriel, followed by a "family celebration" reception that afternoon at Jim Henson Studios in Los Angeles. Lisa Henson, a television and movie producer and the daughter of the creator of the Muppets, and her husband, artist and animator David Pressler, will host the event. Tickets are $500 to $2,700.

On Thursday night, another fundraiser will be held in Los Angeles with investor Warren Buffett as a special guest.

Lia Zhu in San Francisco contributed to this report.