BY BERDJ KARAPETIAN
Mr. Chahe Keuroghelian wants us to believe he has a chance to win. He wants us to believe it is a choice between him and the other Armenian-American candidate seeking election to succeed Paul Krekorian as the California Assemblyman representing the district with the largest concentration of Armenians in the State.
Although the 43rd Assembly district has the largest number of Armenian-Americans residents, they represent less than 15% of the registered voters and residents of the district. A person seeking to be the Assembly member of this area spanning from North Hollywood to Glendale and Montrose to Silverlake needs Armenian support to win. More importantly, a candidate cannot win without support from the 85% of the residents who are not of Armenian descent.
With no reported financial support (I wonder who pays for all those paid Armenian TV programs) and major endorsements, Mr. Keuroghelian wants us to believe that he will persuade non-Armenians to vote for him. Mr. Keuroghelian told the Los Angeles Daily News last week that “he hasn’t sought endorsements or financial contributions and is running to represent the interests of ‘those who don’t have a voice,’ including students, senior citizens and small-business owners.
Wow! What a noble purpose.
It would be a noble purpose if that was the real intent. It would be the real purpose if he was campaigning and reaching out to the non-Armenian students, senior citizens and small-business owners. He has not. He has not reached out to them because he has focused all of his energy, time, supporters, and limited financial resources on persuading Armenian-American television viewers not to vote for Nayiri Nahabedian.
How many meetings did he organize with non-Armenian prospective voters? Is it four, three, or none? However, he has been on Armenian paid TV programs countless number of times sometimes on two programs in one night.
I have been involved in local elections for more than 30 years. I have been involved in dozens of election campaigns and, even, ran for Glendale City Council in 1989 when Armenian-Americans were less than 10% of the registered voters. My experience with elections and this district where I have lived since 1986 is that a successful candidate needs to have spent time learning about and working with a large cross-section of its residents.
The only candidate who has in the past 10 years worked with both the Armenian and non-Armenian residents of the district is Nayiri Nahabedian. The only candidate who has received Armenian and non-Armenian support is Nayiri Nahabedian. The candidate who has actively campaigned to gain non-Armenian and Armenian votes is Nayiri Nahabedian.
The real election is between Mike Gatto and Nayiri Nahabedian. The tracking polls and responses from likely voters are showing that the race is too close to call.
By April 5, more than 14,000 people voted by mail. Approximately 30% of these voters were identified as having Armenian last names. Although Armenian-American voters are voting in a disproportionately higher number, the percentage of votes cast in a three way race with two Armenian-Americans tells us that a candidate cannot get elected even if he or she receives 100% of the Armenian votes. It is also evident that it will be very difficult to win without a large number of Armenian votes.
The only candidate who has been able to bring together Armenian and non-Armenian support is Nayiri Nahabedian. She deserves your support because she is the one who will really represent all of our communities.