Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Armenian Americans in 2010 campaign

First published in August 22, 2009

Armenian-Americans to challenge congressional incumbents in 2010
Running in Senate race in Nevada, House races in Michigan, Ohio
by Emil Sanamyan

- At least three Armenian-Americans have launched electoral campaigns to take on incumbent members of Congress in the 2010 elections.

Danny Tarkanian, a Las ­Vegas businessperson of Armenian descent, is seeking the Republican Party nomination to challenge Senate Majority leader Harry Reid in the 2010 elections, Mr. Tarkanian's office reported on August 9.

Making the announcement, Mr. Tarkanian acknowledged he was facing long odds.

"I have no illusions about what I'm up against, but I also know I am doing the right thing," he said in a statement, adding that he would run on mainstay Republican issues, such as opposition to growth in government spending and regulation.

According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, six other individuals are seeking the GOP nomination in addition to Mr. Tarkanian, and Nevada Republicans were also reportedly seeking to recruit others.

But Sen. Reid, who is running for a fifth term in the Senate, is believed to be a strong favorite. His campaign expected to raise $25 million in campaign cash.

Nevada's other senator is John Ensign, a Republican who has recently admitted to an extramarital affair; he is not up for re-election until 2012.

Son of the nationally renowned basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, Danny Tarkanian previously ran for the Nevada State Senate in 2004 and Nevada Secretary of State in 2006, both times unsuccessfully. In the latter run he received votes of more than 230,000 Nevadans.

Both incumbent Nevada senators - Democrat Reid and Republican Ensign - have been supportive of Armenian-American issues.

Armenian Caucus member challenged in Michigan

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R.-Mich.), an active member of the Armenian Congressional Caucus, in his fourth term in Congress, is facing a challenge from an Armenian-American Democrat.

An educator and community activist, Natalie Manoogian Mosher is seeking the Democratic nomination in the 11th congressional district, which includes northwestern suburbs of Detroit, in the 2010 election. The district has elected Republican members of Congress since 1967.

As part of her campaign announcement earlier this year, Mrs. Mosher pledged to "make certain the Armenian-American community has an active and effective advocate" in Washington.

Michigan is one of the U.S. states most affected by the recession and Rep. McCotter is believed to be vulnerable. Mrs. Mosher has strongly criticized the incumbent Republican's opposition to the Obama administration's economic stimulus programs and healthcare reform proposal.

According to CQ Politics, the Michigan Democratic Party was seeking to recruit additional candidates to run against Rep. McCotter.

Armenian-Turkish debate in Ohio

David Krikorian is another Armenian-American seeking the Democratic Party's nomination ahead of the 2010 elections. Unlike the other two challengers, he is running against an incumbent who is opposed to the Armenian-­American agenda and is supported by the Turkish lobby.

Republican incumbent Jean Schmidt is in her third term and represents Ohio's 2nd congressional district that includes parts of Cincinnati; the district has been under GOP control since 1983.

Last April Ms. Schmidt filed a complaint against Mr. Krikorian over his charges that she took money from Turkish government interests to oppose the congressional resolution on the Armenian Genocide. As part of the complaint, Ms. Schmidt is represented by Turkish American Legal Defense Fund, an organization linked to the Turkish lobby. Mr. Krikorian in turn retained the help of Mark Geragos, a prominent attorney of Armenian-American descent.

The Ohio Elections Commission is expected to rule on the complaint on September 3.


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