The two Democratic candidates for New York lieutenant governor are courting the votes of Asian-Americans and highlighting the political influence of the nation’s fastest-growing minority group.
Tim Wu would be the first Asian-American elected to statewide office in New York if he wins next Tuesday’s primary. The Columbia law professor is running alongside gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout, who is mounting a long-shot campaign to oust Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“Every time I go to Flushing, or other Chinatowns in New York,” Wu told reporters, “the response has been incredibly enthusiastic.”
Cuomo’s running mate, former Buffalo congresswoman Kathy Hochul, responded Friday with a list of endorsements from Asian-American groups.
Asian-Americans recently overtook Latinos as the nation’s fastest-growing minority. New York is home to 1.6 million people of Asian heritage, more than 8 percent of the state’s population.
Although they have historically not come out to vote, it’s a group that wields increasing political clout — influence that could be even more apparent in a low-turnout election like a primary, according to Paul Watanabe, a political scientist and the director of the Institute for Asian American Studies at the University of Massachusetts-Boston.
“It throws an interesting wildcard into the equation,” he said.