Cory Booker leads Dem presidential candidates in campaign contributions from Asian Americans

The New Jersey senator leads the pack in Asian American donations ($394,923), followed by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard ($390,155) and Sen. Kamala Harris ($322,047).
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Voters cast ballots in Los Angeles County in California on November 6, 2012.Frederic J. Brown / AFP/Getty Images

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By Charles Lam

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker leads the Democrats running for president for money raised from Asian Americans, a new analysis of federal elections data has found.

The analysis was released by AAPI Data — a project at the University of California, Riverside — that conducts demographic data analysis and policy research on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

It looked at Federal Election Commission filings of 14 candidates from the first quarter of 2019 and found that Booker lead the pack in Asian American donations ($394,923), followed by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii ($390,155), Sen. Kamala Harris of California ($322,047), Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont ($123,899), and entrepreneur Andrew Yang ($119,440).

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There are some caveats to the analysis, researcher Sono Shah noted. For one, the analysis uses census surname data among other details to estimate a donor’s race, a method used across multiple research disciplines. That means some donors who are multiracial or who have changed their names may not be picked up.

Additionally, campaigns are only required to itemize donations from individuals who give more than $200 in an election cycle, so smaller figure donors may not be included in the analysis. The analysis examined only Asian Americans, not Native Hawaiians or Pacific Islanders.

In total, Shah found that Asian American donors made more than 4,000 contributions, totaling more than $1.7 million. About 33 percent of the donations came from California, followed by 14 percent from New York and 12 percent from New Jersey.

While most candidates had most of their Asian American contributions come from California, Booker received most of his from New Jersey, the state he represents.

Gabbard and Yang had particularly large proportions of Asian contributions — 44 percent and 35 percent of their total donations respectively — Shah noted in the analysis.

Further analysis of the FEC data and detailing of his methodology is forthcoming, Shah said.

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