Yegparian: How Will We Win This?

This=43rd Assembly District Special Election of April 13, 2010.
We= the Armenian community, in the 43rd and beyond.
Win=electing Nayiri Nahabedian.

Seems like it’s pretty simple math doesn’t it? But it’s not. Unfortunately, rather than resembling arithmetic, which this election should, it seems more like calculus for a variety of reasons.

The simple part is this. The 43rd Assembly District is widely recognized as “the Armenian District,” just as others are known for being Latino or Asian or Black or whatever. Despite this, Armenians constitute only 16 percent of registered voters in the district. But we are also among the most highly motivated. The pride and interest and energy and engagement is palpable, especially among relatively new voters and the elderly. So with this, any Armenian candidate stands a good chance at election.

Of course, to strengthen our position, new voters must be registered and existing ones motivated to cast their ballots. Since this is an off-cycle, special election, experience shows turnout tends to be low. So if our community is excited, we can truly serve as an example of good citizenship and participation. Fortunately, the ANC-PAC has undertaken a voter registration effort as part of its campaign efforts. Separately, the ANC-Burbank long-planned voter registration drive also commenced about a month ago. The campaign is encountering registering new voters. Very soon get-out-the-vote efforts will commence.

All this is the “simple math.” The “complex math” is provided courtesy of a second Armenian entering this race.

Unfortunately, this candidate, Chahe Keuroghelian, has no chance of winning, as explained very well in a piece written by Berdj Karapetian in Asbarez last week. It is unfortunate he has chosen to enter the fray despite his experience in the Glendale municipal elections last year. In that race, other Armenian candidates who had no chance of winning put forth their names and probably undercut Keuroghelian’s chances of winning.

Things get even messier. This special election is wide open and can be won only by getting more than 50 percent of the vote, irrespective of party affiliation. But, because there are four candidates, it is improbable that any one will walk away with the prize on April 13. There will be a run-off election on June 8, in which the highest Democratic vote-getter (out of three: Nayiri, Chahe, and Mike Gatto) will go up against the Republican standard bearer, Sunder Ramani, who, being the lone entry from his party, is guaranteed a spot in June.

But there’s another twist. Ramani is a relatively moderate Republican and Gatto falls, politically-ideologically, between Sunder and Nayiri. Thus, some Democrats, especially in Burbank where Sunder has an extensive record of community service, will end up voting for Sunder. Some of the damage caused by the split-Armenian vote will thus be attenuated.

Aren’t you glad you took that calculus class?

But we can make this simple. Please, be sure to vote. Vote early by mail. Vote in person on Election Day. Do whichever’s easier. But please do vote.

And, vote for the candidate that will do us proud with her record of community service— in and out of the Armenian community. Vote for Nayiri Nahabedian.

If you need assistance of any sort, want to register, or know someone who isn’t yet registered, contact the ANC-PAC (www.ancpac.org) or the Nahabedian campaign (info@votenayiri.com, (818) 971-9128).

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Garen Yegparian

Asbarez Columnist
Garen Yegparian is a fat, bald guy who has too much to say and do for his own good. So, you know he loves mouthing off weekly about anything he damn well pleases to write about that he can remotely tie in to things Armenian. He's got a checkered past: principal of an Armenian school, project manager on a housing development, ANC-WR Executive Director, AYF Field worker (again on the left coast), Operations Director for a telecom startup, and a City of LA employee most recently (in three different departments so far). Plus, he's got delusions of breaking into electoral politics, meanwhile participating in other aspects of it and making sure to stay in trouble. His is a weekly column that appears originally in Asbarez, but has been republished to the Armenian Weekly for many years.
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