Posted on June 06, 2012 in Press Releases

For Immediate Release


Win Energizes Ethnic Constituency for November 2012

Arab Americans turned out in historically high numbers for yesterday’s New Jersey primary contest between Democrats Bill Pascrell and Steve Rothman in the newly-drawn 9th congressional district. Arab American voters rallied overwhelming support for Pascrell, a member of Congress who has had a long history of engagement with the community during his 16-year tenure in Congress. Pascrell’s solid victory over Rothman netted him 61% of the vote (30,227 to 19,118) and produced a win contrary to polling that indicated the race was too close to call.

It is also a noteworthy win as some Pascrell opponents attempted to define this race as a battle between Arab American and American Jewish voters on Israel. While rooted in nothing but a narrative occasionally told to exclude or suppress Arab American political participation, the actual vote returns only confirmed how wrong these single-issue advocates are: Pascrell won soundly in both majority Arab American and American Jewish areas.

The community’s unprecedented involvement in this race, as highlighted by the posters on storefronts in Patterson, helped to secure Pascrell the Democratic nomination in the Democratic leaning district. It has also set a standard for what Arab American voter engagement can produce in areas where Americans of Arab descent are either a sizable portion of the population or organize as a voting block. As community organizers build for 2012, Arab American voter registration drives and GOTV efforts are expected to play a key role in 37 competitive House and Senate races in 10 states in November.

AAI President Jim Zogby stated, "This race will be remembered as a victory for traditional political organizing and a rejection of divisive politics. Arab Americans organized and turned out their vote and they won. New Jersey Arab Americans have set a new standard for Arab American voter participation in nationally significant competitive races.

"They dramatically increased voter registration, they fundraised, they went door-to-door, they phone-banked and turned out the vote – they won.  Arab Americans have every reason to be proud of their efforts and their victory. It is not about Democrats or Republicans either; it is about an organized ethnic constituency turning out its votes. And that’s what Yalla Vote is all about."