When the redistricting process created a new Asian-majority district in Southern Brooklyn, our client, Iwen Chu, quickly emerged as the Democratic candidate for the seat.
Chu had emigrated to Southern Brooklyn decades earlier and had spent years as a community activist and as Chief of Staff to the local Assemblyman.
But we knew it was going to be a difficult contest. Not only did the Southern Brooklyn district cover some of the most conservative neighborhoods of New York (Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach) but Asian voters, historically a reliable voting bloc for Democrats, had veered to the right over the last few election cycles, driven by rising crime and local education policy.
It was going to be a battle.
We knew the defining issue of the race was going to be crime. Not only did our polling show it was the top concern for voters, but our Republican opponent was a former police officer. As a Democratic campaign, we knew we would need to inoculate ourselves on public safety matters if we wanted to be successful in the general election.
Our mail and digital programs focused on crime and protecting the quality of life of Southern Brooklyn families. We touted the endorsement of law enforcement unions, organizations that typically support Republicans, to ensure voters knew that Chu was committed to a safer Brooklyn.
Despite a red wave crashing on Southern Brooklyn, Iwen Chu won her race for Senate. The overlapping Democrats for Assembly, Congress and even Governor weren’t as successful. They all lost the district. Chu made history as the first Asian American elected to public office from Brooklyn and the first female Asian American to serve in the State Senate.
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