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EXCLUSIVE: The Republican Party is investing heavily in outreach to the Asian American community ahead of November’s midterm elections, viewing it as an opportunity to bring minorities permanently into the GOP fold as voters are growing frustrated with the Biden administration’s policies.
The Republican National Committee (RNC) led by chairwoman Ronna McDaniel is launching a five-figure digital and print ad campaign in May, which is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Month, and the organization says it’s an expansion of a multi-million dollar investments in minority communities.
According to Pew Research Center, Asian Americans are the fastest growing group in the U.S., currently making up close to 7% of the population, and are a target of both Democratic and Republican leaders as potential voters in the contentious midterm elections.
In 2020, two Republican Asian American women from California, Reps. Young Kim and Michelle Steel, were elected.
Kim told Fox News Digital in an interview that the Republican Party is the “great opportunity party that creates pro-growth policies that allow all Americans to succeed.”
She said that’s the platform she ran on that propelled her victory. “I think the fact that I won and more minorities won and veterans, dynamic candidates also won shows that the American dream is alive and real and that lowering taxes, expanding opportunities, empowering and protecting communities resonate with many Americans all walks of life, especially including the AAPI community.”
The congresswoman also stressed that “Asian American issues are American issues,” and that mainstream concerns of rising inflation and gas prices, skyrocketing crime and increasing living costs impact the AAPI community in the same way as other communities across the U.S.
Steel said that rising gas prices are of particular concern among Asian Americans and, based on her own experience speaking with voters, they fall in line with Republican issues and concerns.
“When you go issue by issue with Asian Americans, they totally agree with you. And you go out, and you talk to one by one in each community and this is what [the Republican Party] has to do. And they really listen. Voters are much smarter than all these elected people think.”
Both Kim and Steel stressed that education issues, including the ongoing case at the Supreme Court alleging Harvard and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s admissions policies illegally discriminate against Asian Americans, really resonate the minority community with the GOP.
“The GOP and RNC are really investing on the ground first and then also just helping make these communities aware of the investments that we’re making to reach them. We’re coming with a listening ear first,” said the RNC’s Asian Pacific American media affairs director, Nainoa Johsens.
“One of the things that we’re seeing is that the values in the AAPI community often do line up with Republican values,” he continued.
The campaign is focused on running ads in national and local newspapers in key battleground states with large APA populations including the Indian American, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese and Filipino communities. In addition, the political organization has launched grassroots community centers focused on developing relationships with minority voters in addition to conducting get out the vote operations.
In addition, a new APA community center has opened in Las Vegas, Nevada, which the political organization points to how it is expanding and growing its ground game months before the midterm elections. Johsens says the focus on establishing community centers is unique to the RNC’s strategy.
“Joe Biden’s radical agenda on everything from inflation to crime and education is totally out of touch with Asian Pacific American voters. Republicans are poised for big gains because the GOP is on the ground months before November to listen to the APA community’s concerns and provide real solutions based on our shared conservative values,” McDaniel told Fox News Digital.
Reps. Steel and Kim both agreed that the community centers launched by the RNC are a proven and effective method to engage the AAPI community.
Kim said at the centers “Koreans bring Korean barbecue, Vietnamese bring their spring rolls and folks. I mean, they all share. Asian-Americans are big about sharing meals. Over meal, you can overcome any different challenges or differences.”
Steel similarly told Fox News Digital that the center in her district is a “popular spot” where community members can eat traditional Vietnamese food and participate in traditional Vietnamese dances.
“Asian American communities are very simple. You know them, [make] relationship connections, and then they vote for you, and they know that you’re going to be a better candidate.”
The Democratic Party also views the AAPI community as a key target in the midterms.
A Democratic National Committee (DNC) spokesperson told Fox News Digital that the DNC is also investing in Asian American communities, which the organization views as “central” to efforts to expand the party’s majorities in Congress.
“The DNC has significantly invested in multi-platform outreach to Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities ahead of the 2022 midterms,” the spokesperson said. “Asian Americans – the fastest growing coalition group – comprise more than 23 million citizens and more than 50 ethnic groups, and are central to our efforts to protect and expand our Democratic majorities.”
Since May 2021, the DNC has spent over six figures in ads and digital buys across 10 target states, and has hired AAPI directors in Pennsylvania and Nevada.
The DNC also provided translation services and points to a Lunar New Year celebration the group hosted in February.