By Bert Eljera
LAS VEGAS – With just five days left before early voting begins in Nevada, U.S. Senate candidate Shelley Berkley has received endorsements from two key constituencies : Latinos and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Berkley, a Democrat, was endorsed Saturday, Oct. 13, by the Asian American Group of Las Vegas and two large Latino newspapers in Las Vegas and Southern Nevada.
“Shelley Berkley has been a friend to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community for years, and has always fought for us so that is why we must fight for her now,” said Mike Vaswani, president of the Asian American Group.
“Whether it is through her efforts to create good-paying jobs here in Nevada, giving small businesses the opportunity to grow and begin hiring again, protecting Social Security and Medicare, or doing everything in her power to ensure that veterans get the benefits they deserve—Shelley Berkley is a fighter,” he said.
Dozens of AAPIs from the diverse community, which includes Filipinos, Chinese, Asian Indians, and Hawaiians, attended the endorsement ceremony at the Harbor Palace Restaurant in Las Vegas’ Chinatown.
In the morning Saturday, Berkley received the endorsement from El Mundo, the oldest and largest Hispanic newspaper and from La Prensa Latina, a Spanish-language newspaper.
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are considered crucial demographics in both the presidential and senate races as Nevada emerges as a swing state in the Nov. 6 election.
Early voting begins on Oct. 20, and both Democracts and Republicans are urging supporters to vote early and “bank” their votes in what is expected to be a close election.
Berkley is in a tight race with Republican Dean Heller, who himself has gained the endorsement of a Filipino veterans group and the Las Vegas newspaper, Las Vegas Review-Journal.
A recent poll cited by the Washington Post has Berkley ahead 42 percent to 39 percent over Heller going into the homestretch of the campaign.
Before both Latinos and Asian-Americans, Berkley touted her immigrant roots, citing her grandparents as poor and “penniless” when they arrived in the United States
“Almost 50 years ago, my parents put my sister and I in the back seat of our car and drove to Nevada to find a better life,” she said. “My father got a job as a waiter.”
“I worked my way through college and law school as a Keno runner, cocktail waitress, and a shoe shine girl,” Berkley said. “Now, as a candidate for the United States Senate, I believe that my job is to make sure that the generations that come after me have the same opportunities that my family and I had when we came to Nevada.”Follow Bert Eljera on Twitter @vegaspinoy60 and on Facebook at facebook.com/BertEljera