Armenian American Voters Help Deliver Obama/Biden Victory

ANCA, Armenia’s for Obama Deliver Unprecedented Grassroots
Armenian American Support to the Winning Ticket

94% of ANCA-Endorsed Congressional Candidates Elected to Office

WASHINGTON, DC – The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) welcomed President-elect Barack Obama and Vice-President-elect Joe Biden’s historic win yesterday as a new and powerful opportunity for American recognition of the Armenian Genocide, stronger U.S.- Armenia relations, and U.S. support for a settlement of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict that respects its citizens’ right to self-determination.

The ANCA also welcomed the election yesterday of 94% of the Congressional candidates it had endorsed in House and Senate races.

"The victory of Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden stands as a testament to the strength of grassroots activism across the United States committed to change," stated ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian.

"Starting with the ANCA’s endorsement of Senator Obama in January of this year, Armenian Americans in battleground states ‘s organized by an extremely effective and far-reaching Armenia’s for Obama operation – played a critical role in bringing Armenian American Democrats, Independents and a surprisingly large percentage of Republicans to the Obama-Biden ticket on Election Day. Our pre-election polls showed between 80 and 85% support for Obama-Biden in our community, a very strong showing, particularly in a community well represented across the American political spectrum, and a testament to the fact that Armenian Americans are willing to cross party lines to support pro-Armenian candidates."

"In many ways, this election marked the emergence of the Armenian American community as a powerful and broadly respected Presidential election constituency, one that is able – through grassroots efforts, campaign professionals, fundraising, media outreach, and get-out-the-vote – to help tip the balance in a close national contest toward the candidate best positioned to reflect our views and values," concluded Hachikian.

President-elect Obama was consistently strong in his outreach to Armenian American voters, issuing a powerful statement in January, 2008, voicing his vigorous support for passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution and pledging that, as President, he would recognize the Armenian Genocide. The Presidential hopeful also reaffirmed his support for a strong "U.S.-Armenian relationship that advances our common security and strengthens Armenian democracy." Unlike other candidates, he also pledged to "promote Armenian security by seeking an end to the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades, and by working for a lasting and durable settlement of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict that is agreeable to all parties, and based upon America’s founding commitment to the principles of democracy and self determination." President-Elect Obama restated his pledge on two subsequent occasions, the last one in the form of a fact sheet issued just four days before the Presidential election, which stated in no uncertain terms "Barack Obama strongly supports passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 and S.Res.106) and will recognize the Armenian Genocide."

Despite his 15% deficit in the polls in the Democratic primary, the ANCA endorsed President-Elect Obama in the January 2008 in the weeks leading up to the crucial Super Tuesday primary elections. In the months following this endorsement, ANCA chapters worked with a network of Armenia’s for Obama activists spanning the country–from the battleground states of Nevada to New Hampshire–showing unprecedented community participation in all levels of the campaign activity. Volunteers in the traditionally large Armenian American communities of California, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey–traditional democratic strongholds–reached out to the swing states of Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Virginia in pursuit of an Obama victory. The Armenia’s for Obama Facebook group had close to 3000 activists, and nearly 9,000 people watched author Samantha Power’s YouTube video in support of the Obama campaign.

94% of ANCA Endorsed Congressional Candidates Elected; Several Key Races Still Too Close to Call

ANCA endorsed candidates won overwhelmingly in the House, with 201 of 211 endorsed candidates securing decisive wins. Among those winning in tight House races, with the Armenian American support, were Armenian Genocide Resolution supporters Mike McCaul (R-TX), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), Tim Walz (D-MD) and Florida Representatives Lincoln Diaz Balart (R), Mario Diaz Balart (R) and Ron Klein (D-FL). Among those losing highly competitive races were Armenian Caucus Co-Chair Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), Tim Walberg (R-MI) as well as House Foreign Affairs Committee member and supporter Steve Chabot (R-OH). Armenian American Congresswomen Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Jackie Speier (D-CA) won their reelection bids overwhelming with 70% and 75% respectively. ANC OH chairman Dave Krikorian (OH-2) garnered an impressive 18% in his independent Congressional bid, laying a solid foundation for future electoral campaigns.

In the Senate, 11 of 15 ANCA endorsed candidates won their election bids, with the Minnesota Senate race featuring ANCA endorsed Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Democrat Al Franken as well as the Oregon race between Sen. Gordon Smith (R) and ANCA endorsed Jeff Merkley (D) still too close to call. Winners included Armenian Genocide Resolution lead sponsor Richard Durbin (D-IL), John Kerry (D-MA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Carl Levin (D-MI) as well as Mark Udall (D-CO) and Tom Udall (D-NM), who moved from the House to the Senate. Sen. Joe Biden also won his Senate seat; however, with his election to Vice-President, Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner will appoint his successor. Among Senate supporters who lost their election bids were North Carolina Senator Elizabeth Dole (R) and New Hampshire Senator John Sununu (R).

Key Opponents of Armenian Genocide Legislation Defeated

Among key opponents of Armenian American concerns leaving Congress at the end of this term are Reps. Nancy Boyda (D-KS), Thelma Drake (R-VA), Phil English (R-PA), Randy Kuhl (R-NY), and Chris Shays (R-CT) ‘s all of whom lost their re-election bids yesterday. Armenian Genocide resolution opponents retiring this term are Representatives Bud Cramer (D-AL), Terry Everett (R-AL), James Saxton (R-PA) and Tom Tancredo (R-CO).

ANCA / Horizon TV Provide Live Election Night Coverage

Armenian Americans in Southern California and around the nation followed the election returns live with the ANCA and Horizon Television team during a five hour Horizon cable and satellite broadcast and simultaneous webcast on the ANCA website (www.anca.org.) Hosted by Horizon TV’s Manoug Seraydarian and ANC Western Region Representative Ani Garabedian, the program featured on-site elections updates by ANCA activists from Hawaii to New York, phoning in live from Congressional election events across the country. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Assemblyman Paul Krekorian (D-CA) provided their insights as well as The Politico’s National Politics Editor Charlie Mahtesian along with a host of ANCA national and regional board members and staff.

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