How AAPIs fared in the Hawai’i, Minnesota, and Connecticut Primaries

Hawai’i held its primaries on Saturday and Minnesota and Connecticut had contests yesterday.


U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono was unopposed in the Democratic primary and will face Republican Ron Curtis and nonpartisan Arturo Pacheco Reyes in the general election.

Samoan American Rep. Tulsi Gabbard won re-election against challenger Sherry Alu Campagna, who has Native Hawaiian, Japanese, and Chinese heritage, to retain her seat representing Hawai’i’s House 2nd. Gabbard will face former state Rep. Cam Cavasso in the general Republican Brian Evans.

In the First Congressional District, a seat vacated by Rep. Colleen Hanabusa to run for Governor, the Democratic Primary was won by former Rep. Ed Case. Lt. Gov. and former state Attorney General Doug Chin came in second, with state Sen. Donna Mercado Kim (Filipino/Korean American) placing third. Justice Democrat state Rep. Kaniela Saito Ing (Native Hawaiian/Japanese American), and Republican-turned-Dem former state Rep. Beth Fukumoto rounded out the top five. Case will face Republican Brian Evans former state Rep. Cam Cavasso in the general.

The heated race for governor saw incumbent Gov. David Ige prevail against Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa. Ige will face GOP gubernatorial nominee state Rep. Andria Tupola (Samoan American).

Hawai’i’s major political parties are both led by AAPI women: Native Hawaiian Keali`i Lopez is the Democratic Party chair; Filipina American Shirlene De La Cruz Ostrov chairs the state Republican Party.


Hmong American Jay Xiong was unopposed in the DFL primary for the state House seat representing the east side of St. Paul. Hmong American Samantha Vang won a three-way race in the DFL primary for another House seat. North Minneapolis state Rep. Fue Lee (also Hmong American) won his DFL primary.

UPDATE 8/15/18: I received a note from Prof. Lee Pao Xiong, Director of the Center for Hmong Studies at Concordia University, St. Paul. I include below parts of this message.

Dear Keith,

For Minnesota, you should add, Gaoly Her also ran for a state representative seat unopposed in St. Paul for the seat vacated by Representative Erin Murphy when she resigned for the gubernatorial seat. Councilmember Tou Xiong also ran for state representative seat in Maplewood unopposed.  If successful, we will have five Hmong-American in the Minnesota House of Representative.  With Minnesota State Senator, we will have six Hmong-Americans serving in the Minnesota State Legislature and three Hmong Americans in the Ramsey County judicial system as judges.

Former Minneapolis City Councilmember also ran for a seat on the Hennepin County Board. He will advance to the general election in November.

Two Hmong individuals also ran for judgeship in  Ramsey County.  They too will go on to the general election in November.

If successful in November, former Eau Claire City Councilmember Thomas Vue will be the first Hmong-American and Asian to serve on the Wisconsin State Assembly.

A great era for Hmong-Americans political engagement.


State Rep. William Tong won the Democratic primary for state Attorney General, and is the first Asian American nominee from any party for that position. Dita Bhargava lost her Dem primary race for state Treasurer.


Filipina American community leader and advocate Dr. Dawn Bohulano Mabalon passed away on August 10 while vacationing in Hawaiʻi. A memorial fund has been established in her memory. Dawn was Associate Professor of History at San Francisco State University, where she taught courses in United States history, race and ethnicity, food history, and US/Philippines relations. Read more.


August 20: “Trump/Abe Bromance – An Assessment”
with Glen S. Fukushima, presented by Japan Society of Northern California
Monday, August 20 | 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP |  3 Embarcadero Center 20th Floor, San Francisco

Join award-winning author and US-Japan trade expert Glen S. Fukushima as he assesses the Trump/Abe relationship from the perspectives of Washington and Tokyo, and considers whether it will remain strong. He will also explore the future of US-Japan trade, investment and security ties should those bonds continue to fray. Fukushima was elected to two terms as President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan and is currently a Board member of the Japan-America societies in Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, DC, as well as Honorary Co-Chairman of the National Association of Japan-America Societies. Gourmet Japanese bento lunch will be provided.

Glen is co-founder and chair of the CAPA21 Action Fund.

August 26: Unite for Justice #StopKavanaugh

All across the country, Americans will stand united on August 26 in commitment to our freedom and our future to demand that the U.S. Senate stop Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination for a lifelong appointment to the Supreme Court.

In Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump chose a nominee who not only has extremist, ultra-conservative legal views on a range of issues, but who has repeatedly argued that the Supreme Court should put the president above the law. Donald Trump is at the center of a criminal investigation, and he should not be allowed to pick his own judge and jury.

Kavanaugh would rule against reproductive freedom, health care, the environment, voting rights, workers’ rights, LGBTQ rights, and immigrant rights for generations. Senators in all fifty states must listen to their constituents, do their jobs to uphold the will of the people, protect the soul of our country and Constitution, and block this nomination. United, we will fight to ensure Brett Kavanaugh never gets confirmed by the Senate. We will #StopKavanaugh. Join us.

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