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Asian American votes seen to be crucial in Georgia Senate runoff

Lenn Almadin Thornhill | TFC News Duluth, Georgia

Posted at Nov 12 2022 08:39 AM

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Some voting places in Georgia might have been quiet on election day but that does not reflect the intense battle still happening in the Peach State.  

The incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and his Republican contender, former football star Herschel Walker, are facing a runoff election on December 6 because both candidates failed to get more than the 50% threshold for victory.

"I think for Democrats, it really hammers home the importance of meeting voters on the ground consistently, not just a month or week before an election," Democrat State Representative Marvin Lim noted, "and meeting on issues that they care about rather than the issues we think they should care about. I don’t think Democrats necessarily did that here."

Lim, the only Filipino American in elected office in Georgia, is hoping the party will do better in the next few weeks.  

"Senator Warnock has really been effective in actually getting things done on the issues people care about and showing that he has done that in a year and in a state where everything is swinging Republican, it’s going to be important to keep doing that leading up to the runoffs a month from now."

Raymond Partolan, National Field Director of the Asian Pacific Islander American Vote, told ABS-CBN News that the fate of which party controls the Senate could come down to Asian American votes.

"In the runoff election which occurred in 2021, Raphael Warnock, who is now Senator Warnock, won the Georgia runoff by just 93,550 votes. And based on our counts, there are over 270,000 Asian American voters within the state of Georgia. So you can see Asian American voters can indeed be the margin of victory," Partolan said.

Partolan expects money and volunteers to come pouring back into his home state in the next few weeks.

"It’s going to be a mad scramble to get as many Asian American and Filipino American voters to go to the polling place to cast their ballots again on December 6th."

Among those leading the efforts is voting rights organization Public Wise.

Christina Baal-Owens, the group's executive director, said "there’s some education to do on the date, even that is happening, what it all means. And so we'll be dispersing funding to those groups, and  hopefully we'll have a presence down there."

Among those who plan to join the effort is Fred Faylona who recently got elected as a Commissioner for Susquehanna Township in Pennsylvania.

"I’m sure my friends at the APAC community, we’re going to regroup because we did the same thing two years ago. We campaign hard. We made calls to Georgians. All of the Filipino Americans in the Northeast where I’m close with a lot of Filipino Americans, we did a lot of calls," Faylona said.