Saturday, 17 April 2010

When 2 Armenians battle election in California, and there is homophobia involved, Armenian community loses

Glendale News Press reports that the election took place last Tuesday to fill a vacant seat for the 43rd Assembly District in California, which includes most of Glendale, Burbank and parts of Los Angeles. Title of the report says it all: “Armenian candidates split vote”.
[...] at the headquarters of Democrats Nayiri Nahabedian and Chahe Keuroghelian, the strategy was clearly different. Campaign workers were focused on targeting one of the region’s largest voting bases — Armenian Americans, who are estimated to comprise about 30% of registered voters in the district, according to campaign workers.

Campaign workers for Nahabedian and Keuroghelian were primarily reaching out to Armenian residents over the phone, encouraging prospective voters to go to the polls. [...]

Still, the two candidates of Armenian descent ended up at the bottom of the polls, with Nahabedian winning 22% of votes and Keuroghelian taking about 14%. Ramani and Gatto, who made few efforts to reach out specifically to Armenian voters, combined to earn nearly two-thirds of all votes cast.
Garen Yegparian shares more insight on what was going on behind the scene. Apparently, homophobia might have played the role too. Below are selected exrtacts, via Asbarez:

"As always, the campaign for California’s 43rd Assembly District seat produced its share of interesting stories, from the heartwarming and inspiring to the weird and lurid. [...]

I’ve saved strangest for last, and this is only a sampling.  During the course of the campaign, I heard, admittedly second-hand, that some TV commentators were accusing Nayiri of supporting bestiality.  I suppose in their “minds” this fits in with her “unforgiveable” support of gay rights.  But the best one of these is the claim that Nayiri would eliminate the words “mother” and “father”.  This lulu I heard first hand when a caller asked me about it during the call-in time of an Armenian TV show, on which I was that day’s guest.  Then, on Election Day, in speaking to a poll worker at the first polling place I went to (small problem of signage directing people to the entrance had to be solved) I learned that the same issue was raised at an SEIU (one of the unions supporting Nayiri) meeting.  An Armenian woman had announced that she wouldn’t vote for Nayiri because she’d eliminated “mother” and “father” from the textbooks!  So this wasn’t just some operative spreading the word.  People ACTUALLY BELIEVED this stuff, else they’d never repeat it.  It’s fascinating, how out of touch with reality some people can be.

Let’s all work towards a more unified and saner community approach to future elections."

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