Nine Korean American candidates look toward November

June 5, 2014
Michelle Park Steel thanks her supporters. (Park Sang-hyuk / The Korea Times)

Michelle Park Steel thanks her supporters. (Park Sang-hyuk / The Korea Times)

By Tae Hong

Nine Korean American candidates out of 15 in California and New Jersey advanced to the general election Wednesday, an indication of the growing political power of Korean society in the United States.

Californian candidates advancing to November include Michelle Park Steel, a Republican running for the Orange County Supervisor 2nd District seat; Young Kim, a Republican for the State Assembly’s 65th District; Peter Choi, a Democrat for the State Senate’s 24th District; Carol Kim, a Democrat for the San Diego City Council’s 6th District; and Ann Park, an attorney for Office No. 82 in the L.A. County Superior Court who ran unopposed.

In New Jersey, Roy Cho, a Democratic candidate for the 5th District for Congress, received 91.15 percent of votes. Others who made it through are Gloria Oh, a Democrat for the Borough of Englewood Cliffs; Chris Jung, a Democrat for Palisades Park City Council; and Joon Chung for Harrington Park Borough Council.

Steel and Young Kim came out on top of their races, with Steel receiving 46.7 percent of votes against the 23.5 percent of opponent Allan Mansoor.

“We fell short of our 50 percent goal, but we tried our best,” Steel said Wednesday. “We plan to reorganize immediately and prepare for the November election.”

Kim saw victory Wednesday with 54.7 percent.

“I was able to come ahead of the other candidate by 10 percent only with the help of my supporters, which includes the Korean community,” Kim said. “I thank Korean supporters and ask them to please come out and vote in November.”

Choi, on the other hand, will have a more difficult fight on his hands — he came in second behind Kevin de Leon’s 64.7 percent with 20.3 percent. The 24th District in the State Senate overlooks Koreatown.

“I had a difficult time campaigning because I didn’t have as much political experience as de Leon,” Choi said. “But thanks to the support of the Korean community, I got through the primaries. … It’s time to win in the general election in November and time for the Korean community to see respect from the other communities.”