Lester Chang was a success story in a national race in which Republicans did poorly nationally.
He defeated a Democrat from New York City who had held the position for almost 36 years, making him the first Asian American elected to the state Assembly to represent Brooklyn’s expanding Chinatown.
Democrats in the legislature are currently debating whether to deny Chang his seat as they dispute whether he complied with the residence criteria.
They dispute whether Chang spent sufficient time in Brooklyn to qualify for office.
Republicans claim that he resides in the borough, in the house where he was raised.
Supporters, meanwhile, who believe it is a ploy to deny Asian citizens their right to vote, are furious over the potential rejection.
Yiatin Chu, the president of the political group Asian Wave Alliance, stated that “our votes and our say is likely going to be overturned by Assembly members from other districts, and the Brooklyn Chinese community that did turn out for Lester, I don’t think they’re going to forget this.”
The 61-year-old retired U.S. soldier Chang Assemblyman Peter Abbate in Brooklyn’s 49th Assembly District was defeated on November 8 by a Navy reserve who had worked in the international shipping industry.
Asians now make up more than half of the population, changing the Assembly district since immigration.
Chang had to have lived in Brooklyn for an entire year before the election to qualify to run for the Assembly, according to state election regulations.
Democrats have suggested that Chang may have spent some of that period in Manhattan.
According to New York City Board of Elections data, Chang is registered to vote in Brooklyn.
Chang’s rival Abbate claimed, “It came back to me that Lester did not live in the borough for one full year, which is required under the state constitution.” “I’m asking whether he campaigned on pretenses, not if he received more votes than I did.