Mixed bag for Asian-Americans in Nevada

Supporter holds sign of Vincent Ginn, candidate for justice of the peace in Clark County, Nevada.

By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – It was a mixed bag of successes and failures for Asian Pacific Americans vying for elective posts in Nevada in the November 6 elections.

In the only partisan contest that an Asian Pacific American competed in, a Republican failed to stem what appeared to be a Democratic wave in the Silver State.

Mari Nakashima St. Martin, who is of Japanese descent, narrowly lost to Democrat Justin Jones in the race for the Nevada State Senate, representing District 9.

In a district that has become more Democratic by redistricting, St. Martin lost by 313 votes, less than 1 percent, of the vote.

“I would like to thank everyone for their support and encouragement over the last eight months,” St. Martin told her supporters on her website. “We came up 313 votes short (less than 1%) last night but I will always cherish the many supporters and new friends I have made.”

Jones will serve the remainder of the term of Republican, who resigned. His victory, however, allowed the Democrats to keep their 11-10 advantage in the senate.

The other races Asian Pacific Americans competed in were non-partisan and mostly in the judiciary.

Jerry Tao, who is of Chinese and Japanese ancestry, captured the District Court judge position of Department 20 but the other two APA contenders lost.

Phung Jefferson, a Vietnamese-African American, lost in her bid in Department 5 and Korean-American Chris Lee similarly failed in his quest for the Department 4 position.

In the Judicial Court election, Sonnhee “Sunny” Bailey, who is of Korean and German descent, vied for a seat in Department 4 and Chinese-Japanese American Kalani Hoo, competed for a the seat in Department 1 in North Las Vegas.

Results, however, were not yet available.

The more colorful and hotly contested race was for justice of the peace in Clark County.

Vincent Gin, a Chinese-American attorney went up against incumbent Deborah Lipps, 63, a 20-year veteran.

The 41-year-old Gin, who was admitted to the Bar in 2005, waged a spirited battle against Lippis that went to the wire.

“I’m so privileged,” said Lippis, who watched election returns at home with her husband, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.  “It’s just not something you ever take for granted, and when the community puts its trust in you, you just work to keep it. And I love what I do.”


Follow Bert Eljera on Twitter @vegaspinoy60 and on Facebook at facebook.com/BertEljera

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One response to “Mixed bag for Asian-Americans in Nevada

  1. I certainly hope Mary Nakashima St. Martin runs again for office. Republicans had a bad night but she was one of the only R’s that demonstrated a great ability to work with Democrats and Independents and win their votes. A young minority woman is probably exactly what the Republican party needs to encourage more of in coming years. Asian Americans should be proud to support Mary.

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