Rep. BJay Pak Reacts To Nunn Memo

Received via email:

As an Asian American, I am disappointed to learn that US Senate candidate Michelle Nunn’s strategy for engaging the Asian American community boils down to turning us into merely “validators” and a “fundraising base.” To make matters worse, her campaign states that Asian Americans “work” to become citizens quickly,” which stereotypes us as non-citizens – a perception Asian Americans have been fighting to overcome for many years. Georgia’s Asian American communities are not monolithic, and face a diverse array of issues. Contrary to the “model minority myth,” 31,000 Asian Pacific Americans in our state are in poverty — a full 11% of Georgia’s APA population – and they won’t be able to serve as her “fundraising base.” Her campaign messages of “just give us your money,” and “call me when you become a citizen” show how out of touch she is. Instead of addressing the struggles of Asian American working families, it appears Michelle Nunn sees our community only as a means to leverage money and influence. Georgia deserves better — and I am sure that once the members of the Asian American community “become citizens quickly,” they will “validate” my views at the ballot box.

– Georgia State Representative B.J. Pak



  1. xdog says:

    Everyone’s got their shorts in a wad, all because a working memo for a grownup campaign failed to show them sufficient deference. It’s as if they think the feel-good validations of the first couple of days of a national convention are more important than winning an election.

    • rightofcenter says:

      Picture for a moment that a similar “working memo” had surfaced from the Perdue or Deal campaign. The AJC would spend the next two weeks mining the plethora of negative information in it, playing off the “stereotype” of Republicans. No chance of that happening with Nunn – just ask her campaign staff. They acknowledged that in the memo.

    • That’s a pretty weak article on numerous fronts. For one thing, the Nate Silver predictor that it heavily relies on that shows Georgia not voting for a Democrat for President until 2048 actually shows Georgia voting for a Democrat as soon as 2016(!) if Democrats nationally improve their share of the white vote by just 5% (which Hillary among other people could do relatively easily).

      Here’s the other problem. Right now Ga is 59% white by registration and 65% white by who turns out regularly. This is largely because older voters turn out at a higher rate, older white voters turn out at a higher rate than older black voters, and the oldest voters are the most white. Voters over 65 are 73% white. Voters under 30 are 47% white. There is no turnout gap among voters under 30 (both whites and blacks turnout at the same anemic rate).

      This is morbid, but just looking at mortality rates, Georgia should get about 10,600 net votes more Democratic each year without any improvement in the share of the vote that Democrats receive from white voters. The margin in 2010 was 259k, meaning just by this year it should already be closer to 216k even if the underlying dynamics of the election are similar to 2010. In addition to the mortality rate, Dems should pick up about 2,000 net votes from younger people becoming eligible to vote, and another 2,000 net votes as younger adults age into more reliable voters. Again this all assumes that younger whites are just as Republican as older whites. So that’s another 4k net votes, meaning that 216k should now be down to 200k in just 4 years.

      Reversing a 200k shortfall requires flipping only 5% of white voters from R to D.

  2. Spacey G says:

    A writer’s nightmare: forced to write copy in the style of a (leaked) Nunn for Senate campaign doc.

    “We have conducted thematic research that establishes a message frame rooted in Michelle Nunn’s biography and values that establishes her as different from other politicians, in concert with voters’ own values and aspirations, and distinct from the mess in Washington.”

    • Jon Lester says:

      Thanks for that link. I have it bookmarked, though I don’t have the stamina to actually read through the whole thing in one sitting. Campaigning is dreadful business.

  3. Bill Arp says:

    It’s pitiful that Rep. Pak is upset that a candidate is reaching out to a minority community. This is a large reason why the Democratic Party is gaining ground in Georgia. It would probably be more helpful if Rep. Pak sought to get the Republican Party to reach out to the Asian community in the same manner. It’s almost if he can see his community leaving his party. If I was him I would be a bit more proactive and craft a plan to garner their support, instead of being critical of a party seeking to reach out to a vulnerable minority base.

    • rightofcenter says:

      This is your idea of “reaching out” to a community? That’s laughable. This is a way of using a community, nothing more.

  4. Stefan says:

    I can’t decide where these responses lie on the spectrum of false indignation/point scoring to naivete/actual indignation. That document was 144 pages long and it makes a ton of sweeping generalization. Let’s imagine the authors decided to treat all 9.8 million Georgians individually and target them that way. And here’s Bob, he’s 52, white, voted in 4 of the last 6, likes Hogan Heroes and attends classic car rallies. We are going to have Michelle drive by in a Barracuda throwing bags on candy with Colonel Klink’s face on it toward his door, if he answers, she will ask him for $17 to support her campaign. Michelle’s position on toilet paper orientation will be a road block to any ask. Bob is a close to the wall toilet paper orientation guy, but we don’t want to offend any members of the Hobbit community, who obviously cannot reach that far: Current position TBD.

    Is that what y’all want? We’d be reading that memo from now until eternity.

    • David C says:

      Leaking a top secret 48,938,567 page campaign memo would be a very sneaky strategy on their part–by the time everyone finished reading it, she’d have won the election Martin Prince style, 2 votes to nothing.

    • saltycracker says:


      Her handlers ckearly, directly spelled it out but screwed up by not having a minimum representation from her strongest group. The takeaway for all sides is to at least toss in obligatory PC sound bits when avoiding those that might taint or overdemand in the cause. She’s weak.

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