*

 

8.22.2010

rock the bangladeshi vote

Interesting New York Times article on the race for the 76th Assembly District in the Bronx, where Democratic challenger Luis Sepulveda is adopting a novel strategy: courting the district's growing Bangladeshi population: In Race for an Assembly Seat, a Challenger Courts the Bangladeshi Vote.
Since February, Mr. Sepulveda has attended nearly two dozen Bangladeshi events, visiting mosques, halal restaurants and picnics, and marching in parades.

He has pledged that, if elected, he would hire a Bengali speaker for his staff and to crack down on hate crimes against South Asians. He has promised to push for halal menus in public schools and Bengali lessons in the classroom. He has developed a taste for spicy curries and says he now knows as much about Bangladesh's founding fathers as he does about America's.

While Mr. Sepulveda, 46, maintains that he is embracing a group that has long been ignored, he is also candid about his political calculations.

"It's surgical," he said. "We know where we have to go to get the votes."
Just looking at the numbers, Sepulveda's strategy could indeed pay off. With more than 2,500 Bangladeshis in the district, they could very well represent the deciding votes that tip the balance in this election. Whether or not he makes good on all these promises to the community, if he wins, is another question entirely.