Asian Americans heavily favored GOP candidate Curtis Sliwa in New York City’s mayoral election, prompting Democratic leaders to call for more attention toward the community.
The rundown: While Democrat Eric Adams comfortably secured the city’s top office, Sliwa won significantly more votes in Asian-majority districts, according to results seen by The City. Most who came out in support of the Republican bet were Chinese voters disgruntled over multiple Democratic policies.
Sliwa reportedly collected 44% of votes in precincts where more than half of the residents are Asian. By comparison, he won 40% of votes in majority-white, 20% in majority-Hispanic and 6% in majority-Black districts, The City noted.
Sliwa triumphed in neighborhoods including central Sunset Park in Brooklyn, Murray-Hill Broadway and East Flushing in Queens, to name a few. In the 40th Assembly District, he won 1,400 more votes than Adams, the New York Post reported.
A similar trend was observed in the city council race where a seat in a Brooklyn district whose population is 18% Asian flipped from Democrat to Republican, while a Queens district that is 36% Asian is also expected to result in a GOP win, according to The City.
The big picture: Sliwa ultimately lost to Adams after earning just 29% of the city’s overall votes. But his victory in Asian American enclaves reflects a political shift Democrats appear to be unprepared for.
Chinese Americans, who make up the majority of New York City’s Asian population, largely voted Republican over issues such as the establishment of homeless shelters and reforms to specialized high school admissions. “The values of the Republican Party resonate more with Chinese voters,” Sunset Park resident Ray Huang told The City.
Huang helped organize a protest on Oct. 27 against the city’s plan to build a homeless shelter in Brooklyn’s Chinatown, whose many residents happen to be seniors, women and children. While Sliwa marched with them — and vowed to stop building homeless shelters altogether — Adams, at his own event, showed up at the neighborhood to propose developing more.
Phil Wong, a Hong Kong-born father of three, said he had never participated in protests until plans to end the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) surfaced in 2018. He currently serves as president of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance of Greater New York, which has recently taken issue with the implementation of critical race theory education. “The Democrats’ race-based so-called education equality reminds me of the Cultural Revolution in China,” Wong told The City. Sliwa, for his part, vowed to retain and expand “Gifted and Talented” programs and create “accelerated magnet programs” for students who do not qualify.
Sliwa, who founded the city’s Guardian Angels, also vowed to refund the police to strengthen public safety. With the alarming spike in anti-Asian hate crimes in New York City — the highest of any U.S. city in 2020 — Sliwa offered a much-needed sense of security for the Asian American community. In July, he stood with Wong to announce a $10,000 reward for information that could lead to the arrest of a man accused of attempted robbery. The incident had left an Asian woman with a fatal brain injury.
Democratic leaders are recognizing the recent Asian tilt toward GOP candidates in New York City as a wake-up call to a potential Asian red wave. “Our party better start giving more of a sh*t about AAPI voters and communities. No other community turned out at a faster pace than AAPIs in 2020,” tweeted Rep. Grace Meng after seeing results in her constituency of northeast Queens. Assemblymember Ron Kim, who represents the 40th district, told the New York Post, “Asians have been getting violently attacked nonstop for over one year and the city has not done anything to make us feel safe.”
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