Republicans woo Asian American voters

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Mar 01 2013 02:56 PM | Updated as of Mar 01 2013 10:56 PM

LOS ANGELES, California - Less than four months after a presidential defeat, Republican leaders are trying to make a comeback.

Already gearing up for the 2016 presidential election, Republicans are targeting Asian-Americans and the traditionally democratic state of California.

“Our commitment is to grow the party and win and we're going to do that one day at a time. The other reason why we're here in southern California is that we're ending the red state, blue state analysis. We're done with shrinking the map. It's time to grow the party,” said Reince Priebus, Republican National Convention (RNC) Chairman.

Priebus met with Southern California's Asian American republican leaders to launch their campaign on attracting more Asian American voters.

Census data shows Asians are fastest growing population in California.

An analysis of 2012 presidential election Exit polls from the Pew Research Center shows that more second generation Asians and Latinos voted for president Obama.

Overall, 26 percent of Asians voted  Republican, down from 55 percent in 1992.

Filipinos plan on reaching out to the youth by encouraging them to participate and bring up specific issues.

Among the younger Asian American republicans is 29-year old San Diego City Council candidate and military veteran Filipino-American, Don Azul.

“Come up together and persuade more Asian Americans to participate and become republicans,” Azul said.

While San Diego RNC chairman Julio DeGuzman believes young voters are often misguided into joining the Democratic Party.

“What I would like to do is persuade Asian American Democrats that even though they have the same values as US Republicans and our values are conservative, persuade them to switch parties because when I ask many of my friends why they are Democrats, they don't know why even though they share the same traditional conservative values as myself,” said DeGuzman.

Asian American Democratic leaders say they commend the GOP's efforts, but it may be too little and too late.

With more Asian American Democrats elected into office, and more children of immigrants leaning towards the Democratic Party, they say Republicans face an uphill battle.

“With the Democratic Party, we've been consistently reaching out to AAPI community regardless of ethnicity and especially here in LA County, here in California too. We have seen a lot of success through the fruit of our outreach. We're getting the electorate more engaged and we're also getting more AAPI folks elected into public office,” said Clark Lee, Asian Pacific Islander Caucus State Chair.

It's been nearly 30 years since the Golden State voted red.

As part of their plan to woo California voters, especially Asians, Republicans will hold a convention later this year in Southern California.

The Democratic Party will also have their own conference in Sacramento in April.