When Asian Pacific Americans Run: The Suburban and Urban Dimensions of Asian American Candidates in California Local Politics

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Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs


Asian Americans constitute a newly emerging player in California local and state politics. The recent elections of Van Tran, Leland Yee, Alan Nakanishi, and Alberto Torrico to the California State Assembly not only serve as state-level examples of this point but also demonstrate the ethnic, partisan, and geographic diversity of eight Asian Americans in the California State Assembly.1 Although numerical gains have occurred at the state level, the local- level represents the area where Asian American candidates have found their greatest political success in California politics. For example, 68 Asian Americans currently serve on city councils throughout California, the largest number among all states, including Hawaii.2