26 Fil-Ams winning in US polls
MANILA, Philippines – There has never been this many Filipino American candidates in a United States election—40—and more than half of them are winning, based on nearly complete but unofficial results from the November 6 polls.
The “awesome” news was delivered by the San Francisco-based Filipina Women’s Network, a private, non-profit organization that “[raises] funding and awareness of the activities, professional careers, and status of women of Philippine ancestry who are residents of the United States.”
FWN’s Marily Mondejar, in an email, said 26 of the Fil-Am candidates have won, based on “semi-official election results.” Votes from all precincts have come in, most of which have been canvassed 100%, but have yet to be certified.
The winning candidates are in California (10), Hawaii (14), Illinois (1), and Virginia (1). They are:
- Christopher Cabaldon - re-elected Mayor of City of West Sacramento
- Jim Navarro - re-elected for City Council of Union City
- Jess Malgapo - garnered enough votes to qualify for Erin Hannigan's Vallejo City Council seat which she will vacate for Supervisor D1
- Jose Esteves - re-elected Mayor of the City of Milpitas
- Rob Bonta - wins a seat in the CA State Assembly D18
- Rudy Nasol - elected Trustee of San Jose/Evergreen Community College District, Area 1
- Stewart Chen - 5,855 votes (17%) to qualify for Rob Bonta's Alameda City Council seat which Rob will vacate for CA State Assembly
- Tony Daysog - elected to the Alameda City Council
- Vince Songcayawon - elected to the Evergreen School District Board
- Wendy Ho - ran uncontested and is elected San Jose/Evergreen Community College District Trustee.
- Chris Manabat - State Representative D40
- Delia Au Belatti - State Representative D24
- Donna Mercado Kim - State Senate D14
- Donovan Dela Cruz - State Senate D22
- Gilbert S. Keith-Agaran - State Representative D9
- Henry Aquino - State Representative D38
- Joey Manahan - Honolulu City Council D7 (Manahan garnered enough votes to fill the vacancy of Romy Cachola's election to the Hawaii House of Representatives; former Vice Speaker of the House)
- Kymberly Marcos Pine - Honolulu City Council D1
- Marissa Capelouto - State Representative D42
- Rida Cabanilla-Arakawa - State Representative D41
- Romy Cachola - State Representative D30
- Ron Menor - Honolulu City Council D9
- Ty Cullen - State Representative D39
- Will Espero - State Senate D19
- Jessica O'Brien - Cook County District Court Judge
- Robert "Bobby" Scott - elected to his 11th term in the US House of Representatives
Eyes on 2016
FWN said the total number of candidates on their list is “impressive” since “this is the most candidates we've had in an election cycle.” It is calling on the Fil-Am community to inform the organization (through email firstname.lastname@example.org) of other Fil-Ams who might have run for political office in 2012 but have not been included in the list of 40.
The organization is hosting a thanksgiving dinner on November 19 at the One Ferry Plaza Restaurant in San Francisco to “toast all the candidates' campaign efforts, give our support to those who won, and start the conversation for the next election cycle.”
There were more aggressive efforts this year to get Americans of Filipino descent involved in the elections. Non-governmental organizations and scholars had lamented how Fil-Ams were numerous enough to provide a swing vote in presidential elections, but had made themselves scarce during elections, much less organized themselves politically.
The 2010 United States census showed that there are about 3.4 million Filipino Americans now, and the US embassy in Manila said about 700,000 or 20% of them were eligible to vote.
However, in an interview with Balitang America’s Gel Santos-Relos, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia said that in the last two presidential elections, less than 10% of these Fil-Ams cast their votes.
‘Learn from Latinos’
The latest US census showed that Filipinos have the highest proportions of Asians in the states of California (43%), Hawaii (10%), Illinois (4.1%), Texas (4%), and Washington (4%). They are also fast growing in Nevada and Virginia.
Campaign strategist Malou Tiquia, in a Rappler Social Media Conversation on November 6, said Fil-Ams should “learn from the Latinos,” who, despite their big population in the US, took time to get organized to become a political force.
Fil-Ams are “very hard to put together,” but “give them 4 to 5 election cycles. Latinos had a blueprint,” she said.
Tiquia, who studied political management in the US, said that “in states that [were] so defined as blue and red,” it is in the local campaigns that Fil-Ams can “play a vital role.”
Rappler’s Carmela Fonbuena, who covered the presidential elections with NBC in Ohio, said in the same #USvote Conversation that “most Pinoys [were] in non-swing state California, [so they are] not noticed by presidential candidates, but they can be [an] important bloc in local elections.”