Hmong Hopeful Candidates not advanced to November
Dr. Christopher T. Vang
About three months ago, the whole Hmong community was up to beat with great political excitement when these two individuals announced their candidacies to run for public offices. One was running for a congressional seat in the 21st Congressional District, and the other was seeking a state assembly seat in the 23rd assembly district in California.
Many people in the US and around the world have chipped in to help these two candidates because it was the very first time ever that Hmong Americans entered the political arena to compete with mainstream candidates for congressional and state assembly seats. Historically, it was a hope over fear.
On March 29, 2012, Hmong Americans organized a fundraising event at the Golden Palace in Fresno to support the congressional candidate. The room was packed with enthusiasm, and people were hopeful for the outcome of this primary. Even all speakers ensured the audience that the first Hmong ever congressional candidate would advance to the November Election for the first time, the results on June 5 showed the opposite. In some cases, some speakers disregarded the Primary Election as an obstacle and focused on the November Election instead because of the overwhelming support from other communities and leaders. The whole event was a success; however, the hopes and dreams were up in the air since the near future was uncertain.
On April 29, 2012, Hmong Americans organized another fundraising event at the same location to support the second candidate who was running for the state assembly district. The turnout was great; however, the size of the audience was smaller than that of the previous one. Good speakers encouraged Hmong Americans to get involved in western politics and to plant the seed for the future. Some messages were encouraging while others were disappointing and discouraging Hmong Americans. Nevertheless, it was a great event since a group of diverse supporters showed up to express their civil responsibility and duty.
Now, despite all that, the tentative results of California Primary Election gave sad news to the Hmong-American community in the Central Valley. It was a rainy day for Hmong Americans and their non-Hmong friends who supported the two Hmong hopeful candidates. Neither one made to the top two positions in order for them to advance to the General Election in November.
As reported, the Hmong congressional candidate finished in third place and was tentatively eliminated since only the top two candidates will face run-off in November. However, the County Election Office is still counting many absentee ballots. It is still a slim chance for the Hmong candidate to receive more votes, but quite frankly, it is unlikely that he will be advanced. Even if he has not conceded to his opponents, he would need to have another 1,046 plus votes to be in the second position in the meantime. Perhaps, only a miracle can be helpful in this situation.
On the other hand, the Hmong state assembly candidate finished in fourth place and was eliminated from the race because only the top two candidates would advance to the November Election. The congressional candidate received approximately 7,286 votes, or 20 percent of all cast votes; and the state assembly candidate collected nearly 3,261 votes, or 7 percent of all cast votes. Regardless of these results, the two Hmong hopeful candidates have done a wonderful job in campaigning, and no doubt in mind that they have planted the political seed for the future to enhance Hmong-American politics in the Central Valley.
Lastly, as a Hmong American, I am proud of these two candidates because they are not afraid to help others polish democracy in America. They have exercised their civil liberty, responsibility, and duty well. Winning or losing is always part of the political games. This could be their first step into politics, and I know they will do much better next time. Let’s thank them for trying and let’s applaud them for their public services.