Asian-American voters are flexing their political muscles in the Georgia Senate runoff

  • Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders make up one of Georgia’s fastest-growing voting blocs.
  • Both the Warnock and Walker campaigns have courted this crucial bloc ahead of the Senate runoff.
  • Democratic and GOP groups have increased engagement efforts with AAPI voters in recent years.

In crucial Georgia, where competitive statewide elections have become the norm in recent years, every vote counts.

For Asian American and Pacific Islander voters, whose political influence in Georgia has grown exponentially over the past decade, the Dec. 6 Senate runoff between incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker is another step up her community’s journey to becoming a major constituency in the Southern Swing State.

In a Politico report detailing how Asian Americans are being intensely courted by both the Warnock and Walker campaigns ahead of the runoff, AAPI Victory Fund founder and chair Shekar Narasimhan emphasized that the community appointments must be heard directly from candidates and noted the need for strong voter retention efforts.

“Our community needs to hear directly from leaders and from candidates saying, ‘We have a real message of change, which is positive,'” Narasimhan told Politico. “And we think by doing what we’re doing and doing it consistently, we’re giving them that message.”

Ballots cast by Asian American voters have increased dramatically from 2016 to 2020, from 73,000 votes to 134,000 votes, according to Democratic polling data company TargetSmart.

The 61,000 vote increase is larger than the roughly 12,000 vote margin that allowed current President Joe Biden to lead Georgia in the 2020 presidential election, making him the first Democratic presidential nominee to win the state since 1992.

It’s also larger than the roughly 37,000 vote lead Warnock held over Walker in November’s general election. (The Senate race faces a runoff as no candidate receives at least 50% of the vote, as required by state law.)

Warnock won Asian American voters by 20 points over Walker (59%-39%), according to a CNN poll on the outcome of November’s general election.

However, Republicans are not backing down to appeal to the fast-growing voting bloc.

The Republican National Committee last year opened an Asian Pacific American community center in Gwinnett County, an Atlanta suburb that boasts a large Asian community.

And newly re-elected Governor Brian Kemp cultivated ties with Asian American voters throughout his successful campaign. While Democrat Stacey Abrams won the group’s votes, she overtook Kemp by just 8 points (54%-46%) according to CNN Exit Polling, putting in a stronger performance than Walker on the campaign trail.

“We’re the only demographic that’s still growing,” Georgia state senator-elect Nabilah Islam told Politico. “So I am confident that we will be a huge voting bloc that will help bring Senator Raphael Warnock a win.”