WASHINGTON–In the wake of the hotly contested Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, Armenian Americans are better positioned than ever to play a decisive role in the key states that will help choose the Presidential nominees of the Republican and Democratic parties over the next 30 days, reported the Armenian National Committee of America Thursday.
In recent weeks, the ANCA has invited each of the candidates to share their views on Armenian Americans issues, and to comment on both the growing relationship between the U.S. and Armenian governmen’s and the enduring bonds between the American and Armenian peoples. Questionnaires sent to the candidates have invited them to respond to a set of 18 questions, including those addressing: affirmation of the Armenian Genocide; US-Armenia economic, political, and military relations; self-determination for Nagorno Karabagh; the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades; and the genocide in Darfur.
"Armenian Americans are set to cast their votes in the presidential primaries in record numbers," said ANCA Eastern Region Executive Director Karine Birazian. "We look forward to working with all the campaigns to make sure that Armenian American voters go to the polls empowered to make informed decisions about the candidates who will best represent our community’s views and values."
"In California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, and throughout the Western part of the country, Armenian American voters are in a position to play a truly decisive role in this year’s highly competitive battle between the candidates to secure the nominations of their party," said ANCA Western Region Executive Director Andrew Kzirian.
Among the key states with large Armenian American communities to hold either primaries or caucuses over the next 30 days are the following: Michigan (Jan. 15), Nevada (Jan. 19), South Carolina (Jan. 19 and 26), Florida (Jan. 29).
An estimated 60,000 Armenian Americans live in Michigan today. It has been, for nearly a century, one of the largest and most vibrant Armenian American communities, with large numbers of families in the Detroit area and throughout the state. This contest is widely viewed as pivotal in the selection of the Republican nominee. The Michigan primary has lost considerable significance to Democratic candidates since conflicts over timing led the Democratic National Committee to decide not to count delegates from this contest.
Currently about 10,000 Armenian Americans live in Nevada, while 3,000 live in South Carolina. Both Nevada and South Carolina have witnessed an influx of young professional Armenian Americans over the past decade, with a growing number of California Armenia’s relocating to Nevada, and a steady stream of Northeast Armenia’s moving south to the Columbia and Charleston areas. Republicans vote in South Carolina on January 19th, Democrats a week later on the 26th.
35,000 Armenian Americans live in Florida. Florida’s Armenian American community, located in and around Miami, Boca Raton, Orlando, Ocala, Naples, and Tampa, played a decisive role in the closely contested 2000 Presidential election. This year’s primary will play an important role in the Republican nomination contest, but not on the Democratic side, which has, due to conflicts over timing, chosen not to count delegates from
"Super Tuesday" will be on Feb. 5 this year. The large and active Armenian American communities, in eight of the states that will hold contests on Super Tuesday, are watching the field of candidates: Arizona Primary (15,000 Armenian Americans), California Primary (600,000 Armenian Americans), Colorado Caucus (8,000 Armenian Americans), Connecticut Primary (20,000 Armenian Americans), Illinois Primary (45,000 Armenian Americans), Massachusetts Primary (120,000 Armenian Americans), New Jersey Primary (75,000 Armenian Americans), New York Primary (100,000 Armenian Americans).
Armenian Americans in these states, and throughout the country, represent a motivated and highly networked constituency of more than one and a half million citizens spread across key primary and general election states. Armenian American voters are well represented in both the Democratic and Republican parties and across the political spectrum, and have consistently demonstrated a willingness to cross party lines to vote for candidates who have supported issues of special concern to the community.
The ANCA mobilizes Armenian American voters through a network of over 50 chapters and a diverse array of affiliates, civic advocates, and supporters nationwide. ANCA mailings reach over a quarter of a million homes, and, through the internet, updates and action alerts reach well over 100,000 households. The ANCA website, which features election coverage from an Armenian American point of view, attracts over 100,000 unique visits a month. The ANCA also has broad reach to Armenian American voters via a sophisticated media operation of newspapers, regional cable shows, satellite TV, blogs, and internet news sites.
Democratic Candidate Review:
Hillary Clinton: As a Senator, Hillary Clinton has, since 2002, cosponsored successive Armenian Genocide resolutions, however she publicly voiced reservations about the adoption of the current resolution in an October 10, 2007 meeting with the Boston Globe editorial board. She joined Senate colleagues in cosigning letters to President Bush in 2005 and 2006 urging him to recognize the Armenian Genocide.
Hillary Clinton for President
4420 North Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22203
John Edwards: As a Senator, John Edwards cosponsored successive Armenian Genocide Resolutions beginning in 2002. He also supported Section 907 restrictions on U.S. aid to Azerbaijan, due to its ongoing blockade of Armenia. As a Presidential candidate in 2004, he stated that the "time is to recognize the Armenian Genocide" and that Turkey’s blockade of Armenia must end. His advocacy on behalf of the family of 17-year-old Nataline Sarkisyan, who died after her insurance company denied funding for a liver transplant, has been warmly received by Armenian Americans around the country.
John Edwards for President
410 Market Street, Suite 400
Chapel Hill, NC 27516
Barack Obama: As a Senator, Barack Obama has spoken in support of U.S. affirmation of the Armenian Genocide and cosigned a letter urging President Bush to recognize the Armenian Genocide, but has yet to cosponsor the Armenian Genocide Resolution. While visiting Azerbaijan in August 2005, Senator Obama was asked by reporters why he cosigned the letter to President Bush. Obama defended his decision by stating the genocide was a historical fact. He
publicly criticized the firing of former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans, who was dismissed for speaking truthfully about the Armenian Genocide, but voted for Richard Hoagland, the nominee to replace Evans, who had denied the Armenian Genocide in his responses to Senate inquiries.
Obama for America
P.O. Box 8102
Chicago, IL 60680
Republicans Candidate Review:
Rudy Giuliani: As Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani issued several Armenian Genocide proclamations and attended ANC-NY Armenian Genocide commemorations in City Hall. In 2001, he hosted His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenia’s, for breakfast in the Mayor’s residence, Gracie Mansion.
Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee
295 Greenwich St, #371
New York, NY 10007
Mike Huckabee: As Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee issued a 2001 proclamation commemorating the Armenian Genocide that noted that Turkey continues to deny this crime and that Armenia’s have yet to receive reparations. He also issued a proclamation marking a "Day of Remembrance of the Turkish and Armenian Tragedy"–a euphemistic attempt to obscure the genocidal intent of Ottoman Turkey toward its Armenian subjects. The local Armenian community’s disappointment with this second proclamation was covered by the Arkansas News Bureau, which quoted ANC-Arkansas spokesperson Leo Stepanian as saying: "It was not a tragedy. It was a genocide."
Huckabee for President
P.O. Box 2008
Little Rock, Arkansas 72203
John McCain: As a Senator, John McCain has opposed the Armenian Genocide Resolution and not been supportive of other Armenian American issues. At a town hall meeting on Sunday, January 6, 2008 Senator McCain was reported to have answered a question on the Armenian Genocide by noting that he recognizes the Armenian Genocide, but opposes the Armenian Genocide Resolution due to the Turkish government’s sensitivities. In correspondence with Arizona constituents he wrote, in October of 2007, that, "Condemning modern Turkey for the acts of the Ottoman Empire would serve only to harm relations with the Turkish people while injecting the Congress into the sensitive role of historian of a period clearly preceding the births of all but a very few congressmen. That is not a development I wish to help facilitate."
In 1989, Senator McCain introduced legislation supporting a peaceful and fair settlement of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict and later supported Section 907 and the Humanitarian Aid Corridor Act. Later, in 1999, he voted against maintaining Section 907.
John McCain 2008
P.O. Box 16118
Arlington, VA 22215
Mitt Romney: As Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney is not on record as having issued Armenian Genocide proclamations or having taken other meaningful official public actions in support of Armenian American issues.
Romney for President
P.O. Box 55899
Boston, MA 02205-5899
The ANCA welcomes feedback on its service to the Armenian American community. Please forward your thoughts and suggestions about the 2008 Presidential election by email to [email protected]