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GOP hires two to boost Asian-American outreach

The Republican National Committee is stepping up its outreach to Asian-American and Pacific Islander voters, as it becomes increasingly apparent that they’re a crucial swing vote in battleground states and districts across the nation.

They’re trying to catch up with Democrats, and polls show the GOP needs to move fast as AAPI voters have been leaning more and more heavily toward Democratic candidates.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus today announced Stephen Fong as the committee’s national Asian and Pacific Islander field director and Jason Chung as its national communications director for Asian and Pacific Islander engagement.

Stephen FongPriebus said Fong – a longtime Republican operative originally from California, and a former president of the San Francisco Log Cabin Republicans – “brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience, particularly at the grassroots level, which will be invaluable in building our new and unprecedented community-based field operation to engage with all voters.”

Fong has “extensive experience working with minority groups and observing Democratic strategies and tactics in the nation’s most diverse state,” according to the GOP’s news release. From 2001 to 2008, he was special assistant at the U.S. Department of Transportation under President George W. Bush working on government affairs, public affairs, and public policy for public transportation and congestion mitigation issues.

Chung has worked on behalf of Republican candidates for 15 years in Connecticut, Maryland, and Virginia; most recently, he was a principal for the Livingston Group and Gateway Consulting. Earlier, he was a congressional liaison in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and executive director of the Maryland Governor’s Office on Asian Pacific American Affairs under Gov. Bob Ehrlich.

That latter experience “in particular will help us better address the concerns of this diverse and growing community, and his contacts and experience in Virginia politics will be crucial ahead of the elections this fall,” Priebus said in the news release.

“It’s no secret that Republicans have ground to make up among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders,” he added. “To earn voters’ trust, we must be present in their communities. Stephen will lead a team of individuals hired by the RNC and rooted in the communities they serve to engage people where they live, work, and worship. Jason will lead the media planning and strategy for the entire Asian and Pacific Islander media, while also overseeing the creation of an RNC Asian Pacific surrogate program.”

Both men also will work closely with the RNC’s overall political and communications teams.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.