June 20, 2016, Washington D.C. – With the New York and Washington primary elections fast approaching, Iranian American candidates Anna Kaplan and Cyrus Habib are poised to have strong showings and advancing towards their respective general elections. If successful, they will become the first Iranian Americans to be elected to the U.S. Congress and to state office.
Kaplan is running for New York’s 3rd Congressional District seat, currently held by Representative Steve Israel, who recently announced that he will not be seeking re-election. She faces a competitive primary election on June 28, 2016 with the winner set to face the Republican nominee in the November general election. Kaplan is considered one of the Democratic front-runners in the primary, and has raised over $445,160 for her campaign. She recently released a video advertisement for her campaign, highlighting her experience as a child refugee and denouncing Donald Trump’s hateful rhetoric towards immigrants.
Kaplan’s campaign was recently endorsed by EMILY’s List, a powerful fundraising Political Action Committee for Democratic women candidates. “Anna Kaplan is committed to protecting New York’s women and families,” explained Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List. “Anna is a dedicated public servant focused on expanding economic opportunities for women and families and protecting women’s access to health care. The EMILY’s List community of more than three million members is proud to endorse Anna in her historic bid to be the first Iranian American in Congress in this important swing district.”
Running for Lieutenant Governor for the state of Washington, State Senator Cyrus Habib is also confidently moving towards his August 2, 2016 primary. Washington utilizes a top-two primary system – all candidates may run and all voters may vote for any candidate. The two candidates receiving the most votes, regardless of party affiliation, move on to the general election. If elected to lieutenant governor, Habib said he will try to nudge along frequently deadlocked negotiations on many issues, but will not insert his will into talks between the two parties. “The goal is to be productive, not to railroad negotiations,” he said. Thus far, he has raised more funds than all his opponents and received the most endorsements from public officials.
Among his long list of endorsements from unions and state and local politicians, is Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson. “Cyrus is a trusted partner in efforts to improve transparency and openness in state government. We’ve worked together on important consumer protection and ethical reform legislation and I’ve admired Cyrus’s efforts to expand voting rights and adopt technology that would allow people in all parts of Washington to participate in policy deliberations. He’s the kind of leader we need to change Olympia,” said Ferguson. Habib’s list of endorsements also includes former Congressman Norm Dicks, President of Washington Conservation Voters, Shannon Murphy, and State Senators David Frockt, Bob Hasegawam and Pramila Jayapal.