Discontented Asian-American voters in the Big Apple turned on Democratic candidates at the polls Tuesday — a backlash experts attributed to disgust with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s education policies, a spate of anti-Asian violence and a sense the Democratic Party has ignored their concerns.
The disgust and fury were apparent in large Asian districts in Queens, as well as in Brooklyn, unofficial results filed with the Board of Elections show.
In the 40th Assembly District that takes in heavily Asian-populated Flushing, Queens, Republican Curtis Sliwa tallied 1,400 more votes than Democrat Eric Adams, who nonetheless won the citywide election for mayor in a landslide.
The majority-Asian district is represented by liberal Democratic Assemblyman Ron Kim. Sliwa also received more votes than Adams in the 25th, 26th and 30th districts — all with sizable Asian populations.
Queens Democratic Rep. Grace Meng, the state’s first Asian-American elected to Congress, said the results are a wake-up call for her party.
“Pending paper ballots counts, the Assembly districts of @nily @edbraunstein, @Barnwell30 @Assemblyman Ron Kim @Stacey23Ad all went Republican,” Meng said in a tweet.
“Our party better start giving more of a s–t about #aapi [Asian-American and Pacific Island] voters and communities. No other community turned out a faster pace than AAPI in 2020,” Meng wrote.
The higher Republican turnout, coupled with Asian-American disenfranchisement, flipped a vacant City Council seat from Democrat to Republican in northeast Queens, where the GOP’s Vickie Palladino upset former Democrat Councilman Tony Avella.
Meanwhile, term-limited Democratic Councilman Paul Vallone appears to have lost a Civil Court judge seat to Republican Joseph Kaspar in the Third District. Vallone is part of an old dynasty: his grandfather was a judge, his father, Peter, was Council Speaker and his brother Peter, is a former councilman and judge.
If the 1,700-vote lead holds for Kaspar after the counting of absentee ballots, it would be the first time a Republican defeated a Democrat for judgeship in the borough’s history. Sources said the lack of Asian support contributed to the upset.
Kim attributed the Asian voter rage and protest to de Blasio’s push to eliminate gifted and talented programs in schools and the COVID-killer debacle in nursing homes, rather than a reflection on mayor-elect Eric Adams, who won the race citywide by nearly 40 points.
He said Asian voters were also outraged over ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s policy of forcing nursing homes to admit recovering COVID patients discharged from hospitals during the peak of the pandemic.
“Education policy is certainly a part of that frustration. Working immigrant families believe their sacrifices and hard work are discounted by the Democratic Party establishment,” Kim said. “If you ignore us on education policy, you’re going to get a backlash.”
Kim said many voters also believe that officials have not done enough to stop anti-Asian violence and discrimination, which increased during the pandemic.
“Asians have been getting violently attacked nonstop for over one year and the city has not done anything to make us feel safe,” he said.
In Kim’s district, Sliwa led Adams 4,782 votes to 4,634 votes.
Asian New Yorkers also turned on Democrats or sat on their hands in Brooklyn’s 49th Assembly District that takes in Sunset Park, Dyker Heights and Fort Hamilton. Asian-Americans now represent a majority of the population there.
Sliwa won 11 of the 13 majority-Asian election districts in Sunset Park, according to unofficial results. And the turnout was low.
Back in the Queens 25th AD that takes in parts of Flushing, Bayside, Hillcrest and Fresh Meadows, Sliwa led Adams with 6,361 votes to 5,684 votes.
In the 26th AD that takes in parts of Bayside, Bay Terrace, Douglaston, Floral Park and Little Neck, Sliwa led Adams with 12,068 votes to 8,237 votes.
In the 30th AD that includes parts of Astoria, Woodside, Maspeth and Middle Village, Sliwa led Adams 8,168 votes to 6,825 votes.
One analysis published on substack.com noted the drop-off in Asian support for the Democratic ticket from 2017.
In districts where more than 75 percent of the voters were Asian in 2017, de Blasio captured 67 percent of the vote to 33 percent for Republican Nicole Malliotakis, according to the analysis.
In election districts where at least 50 percent of voters were Asian, de Blasio captured 57 percent of the vote to 43 percent for Malliotakis, the report said.
The Asian vote for Democrats fell off considerably this election cycle. Adams captured 60 percent of the vote in precincts that are more than 75 percent Asian to 40 percent for Sliwa. In districts that are at least 50 percent Asian, Adams received 54 percent to 46 percent for Sliwa, the analysis found.
“This should disturb both conventional Democrats merely concerned with the party’s short-term electoral prospects as much as socialists hoping to build mass support for radical politics. At the moment, all that either faction can boast is that the other is flailing just as desperately as they are,” author Matthew Thomas wrote.
“But if the conservative turn among non-white, non-college voters continues to gain momentum, the only group that will succeed in building a party of the multiracial working class will be Republicans.”