With election season coming up, the Asian American community’s votes are important now more than ever as the amount of APIDA voters increases every year. A strategy that targets the Asian American community served to be quite beneficial as it pushed Democrat Tom Suozzi into winning New York’s 3rd Congressional District race.

The importance of the Asian American vote was demonstrated by the removal of Republican George Santos as the representative for New York’s 3rd Congressional District in December. With his ousting came the need for a special election to determine a successor to complete the politician’s remaining 11 months of term. Although this election has been shadowed by Santos’ notoriety, it was also seen “as an early test for the general election this fall,” which is quite interesting considering those running “sought to tie the other with national issues, in particular, immigration and crime,” as reviewed by a 2024 CBS article.

Enter the familiar face of Representative Tom Suozzi. Suozzi, a longstanding member in office on Long Island since the mid-1990s, was a “representative of the Long Island-area district in Congress for six years but gave up the seat after an unsuccessful run for governor in 2022.” Considering Suozzi’s previous failure, how did he reassess his political strategy in order to garner a seat in Congress?

When it came to past election seasons, the Asian American community never seemed to be the main goal for politicians due to a number of factors. One reason can be attributed to their assumed role as the “mythical ‘undecided voters’” as stated by The New Yorker. While they can potentially be persuaded in swing states, many politicians don’t believe that it’s worth the effort, as a majority of Asian Americans don’t usually align with either party. Additionally, in the United States as a whole, “most Asian American eligible voters live in only five states” as reported by the PEW Research Center.

Despite the lack of interest in garnering Asian American votes by most politicians, Suozzi saw the power of the Asian vote, especially when looking at the United States Census map for when Santos was elected. The 3rd Congressional District shows the Asian American population to be the second largest community, making up 22.9% of the population. This margin, along with the fact that “between 2000 and 2020, single-race, non-Hispanic Asian Americans made up the fastest-growing racial or ethnic group in the U.S. electorate,” makes it no question why Suozzi set his sights on this community.

Let it be said, he does not do this with any low effort.

From Lunar New Year celebrations to dim sum outings with Chinese language news programs to even attending AAPI Day of Action, AsAm News makes it clear the lengths Suozzi is going to in order to earn the trust of the Asian community. These intentions are made clear with support from fellow Congress chair, Representative Grace Meng of the 6th Congressional District in New York, who has made her support for Suozzi’s recent actions well known. The AsAm News article continues to report Meng as the first and only Asian American woman to represent New York in Congress, so her praise is quite influential as she wants her community to believe in Suozzi as well.

Without his efforts, Suozzi had a chance of losing, but CBS reported Suozzi’s win with 53.9% of the total votes.

We need to recognize the growing increase in representation that makes the Asian American vote so critical. By involving himself in Asian events and traditions, Suozzi established a personal connection that many can resonate with. All voices, not just those of the APIDA community, want to be seen, want to be heard and, perhaps, public support from politicians can further the goal of that happening. While policies for the support of the Asian American community will not happen overnight, perhaps taking years or even a couple of decades, whenever you get the chance, go vote. You never know when it might sway in your favor.

Visual Credit: Element5 Digital

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