Armenian American Issues Supporters Win Big in Congressional Elections

–Majority Senate and House endorsemen’s win reelection; 138 of 142 Armenian Caucus members return to House

WASHINGTON–DC–The Armenian American community scored bipartisan Congressional victories across the political landscape yesterday–with 199 of 202 Senate and House candidates endorsed by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) winning their elections.

"We are extremely pleased that such an overwhelming majority of our supporters won–including over 98% of those we endorsed in the House of Representatives and 97% of the Congressional Armenian Caucus," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "We look forward to working with these friends and the many new members of the 109th Congress on issues ranging from affirming the Armenian genocide to strengthening Armenia and defending Karabagh’s right to self-determination within secure borders."

"More than ever–we were gratified by the dramatically increased involvement of Armenian Americans in the electoral process–in particular–by the positive response to our voter education campaign on the ground in local communities and on our website–www.anca.org. In the weeks prior to the election–we registered over 50,000 unique visits from Armenian American activists interested in learning more about where their candidates for office stood on the issues of importance to our community," added Hamparian.

In a separate statement–ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian congratulated President Bush on his election victory–thanked Senator Kerry for a hard fought election campaign–and praised the Armenian American community for an unprecedented level of activism in this season’s electoral contests US Senate.

All ten ANCA endorsed Senate incumbent candidates were re-elected–including Barbara Boxer (D-CA)–Christopher Dodd (D-CT)–Evan Bayh (D-IN)–Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)–Judd Gregg (R-NH)–Harry Reid (D-NV)–Charles Schumer (D-NY)–Ron Wyden (D-OR)–Patrick Leahy (D-VT)–and Russell Feingold (D-WI).

In a stunning upset–Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) lost his seat to former South Dakota Congressman John Thune. Daschle–who had received a "C" grade on the ANCA report card–had been largely unresponsive to Armenian American concerns–withholding his support for the Genocide Resolution (S.Res.164) in the 108th Congress.

Of the eight members of the Senate retiring–two–Illinois Republican Peter Fitzgerald and Oklahoma Republican Don Nickles–had received an "F" grade from the ANCA. The others–including Senators Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO)–Bob Graham (D-FL)–Zell Miller (D-GA)–John Breaux (D-LA)–and Fritz Hollings (D-SC) generally failed to take a stand on Armenian American concerns. Of the incoming Senators–the ANCA had endorsed Barack Obama (D-IL)–who had reached out to the Armenian American community in the months leading up to the elections and Rep. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)–who–as a House Member–had supported Armenian Genocide recognition initiatives. Rep. David Vitter (R-LA)–who will be replacing Sen. Breaux (D-LA)–had received an "F" rating in the House from the ANCA for his opposition to Armenian American concerns.

A consistent supporter of Armenian American issues–Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate John Edwards–will be replaced by Rep. Richard Burr (R-NC)–who has received a "C" rating from the ANCA. US House of Representatives:

Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairmen Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) both will return to the 109th Congress–along with 138 of the 142 Caucus members from the 108th Congress. Also returning are Armenian American Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and John Sweeney (R-NY) each winning re-election by large margins.

Caucus member Rep. Martin Frost (D-TX) lost–in what emerged as one of the most expensive House races–to Rep. Jeff Sessions–who has received an "F" rating from the ANCA. Rep. Joe Hoeffel (D-PA) lost his bid for the Pennsylvania Senate to Republican Senator Arlen Specter. Other Caucus members retiring are Gerald Kleczka (D-WI) and Jim Greenwood (R-PA).

ANCA endorsed non-incumbents Jim Costa (D-CA-20)–Kenny Marchant (R-TX-24)–Joe Schwarz (R-MI-7)–Dan Lungren (R-CA-3)–and Cynthia McKinney (D-GA-4)–each of whom won their election bids. Central California ANC members worked closely with the Costa campaign in the months leading up to the vote. McKinney–who served in the House of Representatives until 2002–was an outspoken advocate of Armenian genocide reaffirmation efforts–serving on the House International Relations Subcommittee on Europe. Michigan area Armenian American activists worked with and fundraised extensively for Joe Schwarz–who is replacing outgoing House member Nick Smith–who received an "F" rating from the ANCA. Other House Members with "F" ratings leaving Congress include New York Republican Amo Houghton and Florida Republican Porter Goss.

For a full listing of ANCA endorsemen’s visit www.anca.org.

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