BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN * ANC-PAC-endorsed Craig Missakian fought a good battle–but trailed behind Democratic candidate Dario Frommer in the 43rd Assembly race.
GLENADLE–Congressman-elect Adam Schiff was happy on election night. He had just won the country’s most heated–and expensive–Congressional race. In his victory speech at the Pasadena Hilton Tuesday–Schiff–who unseated incumbent Republican James Rogan–thanked the Armenian National Committee of America and Armenian-American voters for their support in his victorious bid for Congress.
In the final tally–the ANC-PAC endorsed Schiff led his opponent by a wide margin. According to results posted on the California Secretary of State’s website–with 100 percent of the precincts reporting–Schiff led by 106,063 and 52.8 percent of the votes–while Rogan trailed with 87,972 votes and 43.8 percent.
Schiff’s victory came following months of campaigning–which turned not only negative–but at times rancid–with even 11th-hour allegations that Schiff had received money from Turkish lobbying groups. Perhaps–such tactics by Schiff’s opposition cost Rogan his election. At press time–it was too soon to tell.
As State Senator Schiff has taken the lead on numerous issues of concern to Armenian-Americans–including spearheading resolutions which prohibited the University of California system to take foreign money for establishing academic chairs and a $500,000 state funding measure for the production of a documentary by the Armenian Film Foundation on the Armenian Genocide.
During the weeks that the Armenian Genocide resolution was being deliberated in Congress–Schiff took an active role in promoting the importance of the bill’s passage and rallying Democratic support in Congress for the recognition measure.
In another race–however–the Armenian-American community did not yield the desired outcome. The race in the 43rd State Assembly district saw Armenian-American candidate Craig Missakian [R] trail behind Democratic candidate Dario Frommer. The final results placed Frommer ahead with 66,332 and 58.9 percent of the votes–to Missakian’s 46,296 and 41.1 percent of the votes.
In other state-wide races–ANC-PAC-endorsed candidate in the 21st State Senate district Jack Scott won the election against Republican Paul Zee by a vote of 147,452 to 93,809. In the 44th Assembly race–ANC-PAC-endorsed candidate Carol Liu won the race with 85,593 to Republican candidate Susan Carpenter-McMillan’s 45,481 votes.
ANC-PAC-endorsed US Senatorial candidate–incumbent Democrat Dianne Feinstein won her re-election bid with 5,313,355 votes to Republican opponent Tom Campbell’s 3,449,647 votes.
In Los Angeles County races–District Attorney Gil Garcetti–an ANC-PAC-endorsed candidate lost his re-election bid Steve Cooley–in what became a landslide victory for the latter–while ANC-PAC endorsed candidate Rick Auerbach won his bid for Country Assessor.
The election season was marked with great political gains for the Armenian-American community–as various national leaders–particularly House Speaker Hastert and Democratic Minority Leader Richard Gephardt–issued written promises to the Armenian American community pledging to bring forth the Armenian Genocide Resolution in the 107th Congress.
With the ANC-PAC’s active participation in the elections–especially our positions on various races including the 27th Congressional District–the Armenian American community gained an advantage in making sure that national leaders pay closer attention to the issues impacting our communities," said ANC-PAC spokesperson Souzi Zerounian-Khanzadian. "It is also important to note that the ANC-PAC and the entire ANC organizational family will work toward ensuring that our candidates indeed become active advocates–and that promises made will be kept to the Armenian American community."
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region Project Vote worked over the last several weeks of the campaign season to ensure Armenian Americans participated in the election process. With this non-partisan ‘Get-Out-The-Vote’ program–the ANC Project Vote contacted more than 8000 households in the 27th Congressional District–providing voters with literature and information on the election process–encouraging each voter to take part in democracy.
"The ANC Project Vote efforts did indeed pay off on election day–when polling location lines reached around corners of buildings and outside of auditoriums and church halls–and it was evident from the number of Armenian Americans in those lines–that the simple message of ‘Our Vote? Our Future’ reverberated throughout our community," explained ANC-Project Vote staff member Sevak Amirian.
In other national races in country for either the US Senate or the House of Representatives–95 percent of ANCA-endorsed candidates won their bids during Tuesday’s vote. However–some longtime Armenian-American supporters lost their bids for office–adding a new twist to Armenian-American activity in Congress next year.
Of the 11 ANCA-endorsed Senate candidates–eight won their races. In New York–Republican Rick Lazio lost to First Lady Hillary-Rodham Clinton–who was not endorsed by the ANCA. In Rhode Island–Democrat Robert Weygand lost his bid for the Senate–while in Michigan–longtime Armenian-American issues advocate–Republican Spencer Abraham–failed to garner the majority of the votes.
In the House raced–five of the five candidates endorsed by the ANCA in open races all won the elections. Aside from Schiff–California saw Mike Honda (D-15) and Hilda Solis (D-31) win their bids for the House–while in Illinois and Rhode Island Republican Mark Kirk and Democrat James Langevin respectively claimed victories on Tuesday.
Among those losing their bids for re-election were longtime Armenian-American issues supporters and ANCA-endorsed candidates Steve Kuykendall (R-Calif.)–Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.)–Sam Gejdenson (D-Conn.) and Rush Holt (D-NJ).