More on Rep. Joseph Cao and Vietnamese-American party loyalty by mattsteinglass
April 2, 2009, 11:58 am
Filed under: United States, Vietnam

Just to add to my earlier point about Vietnamese-Americans being rather fluid in their party loyalties, I was just reminded of former Orange County congressional candidate Tan Nguyen. Nguyen ran as a Democrat against Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) in 2004 in the 46th, which contains one half of Orange County’s Vietnamese-American population. Then in 2006 he ran as a Republican against Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) in the 47th, which contains the other half of Orange County’s Vietnamese-American population. Nguyen seems to have had the bright idea of running an anti-illegal-immigrant campaign in a district that is over 60% Hispanic, and he wound up getting investigated by the FEC over a campaign flyer that arguably tried to discourage immigrant citizens from voting and being disavowed by the California GOP even before the election, so he’s probably finished as either a Democrat or a Republican. But still, the point about Vietnamese-Americans’ somewhat unfixed political identities stands.

Meanwhile, a well connected Vietnamese-American activist in DC tells me that Joseph Cao (R-LA) doesn’t seem to have much of a base, be it Democratic or Republican; he says he’d never even heard of Cao until just before the election. Cao’s election really was a huge fluke prompted by the Democrats’ failure to back a primary challenger to the indicted Bill Jefferson, and to the fact that Hurricane Gustav postponed the primary until Nov. 4 (allowing Jefferson to benefit from the surging Obama black vote) while the final election was held in early December, when those Obama voters didn’t turn out.


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