Community leaders embrace the reelection of pro-Armenian congressional candidates
BOCA RATON, FL–Armenian-Americans from the battleground state of Florida embraced not only the landmark victory of Senator Barack Obama, but also the victories of Congressional candidates endorsed by various Armenian-American organizations, reported the Armenian National Committee of Florida (ANC of Florida).
"Our hard work has finally paid off," said ANC of Florida chairman Albert Mazmanian. With 100% precincts reporting throughout the state, six Florida congressional candidates endorsed by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA), were reelected to the United States Congress.
The Boca Raton Embassy Suites Caribbean ballroom was transformed into a red, white, and blue themed party, where Congressman Ron Klein’s victory was celebrated by the who’s who and socialites of affluent District 22.
Among the crowd were representatives of the Armenian-American community, notably Albert Mazmanian, chairman of ANC of Florida, Michael Toumayan, former 2004 ANCA Leo Sarkisian intern, and civic and ANC activists Dan Danielian, John Kochkerian, Annie Boghossian, Joseph Dayball, Esq., and Maria Duval.
The crowd erupted in cheers to the news of Rep. Klein’s reelection. Facing intense pressure from various elemen’s of genocide denial, Rep. Klein has reaffirmed his pledge to the Armenian Genocide numerous times at events sponsored by the Armenian Cultural Association of Florida.
Other ANCA endorsed incumbents fought hard battles throughout the state; however, victories for pro-Armenian candidates prevailed, among them: U.S. Reps. Ander Crenshaw (R-4), Gus Bilirakis (R-9), Kendrick Meek (D-17), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-21), Ron Klein (D-22), and Mario Diaz-Balart (D-25).
Despite the election of 94% of ANCA endorsees, the loss of Benjamin Graber, an Independent congressional candidate for District 19, reflected a heavy blow to the efforts of Armenian-Americans to unseat incumbent Rep. Robert Wexler who has been notorious for his fierce opposition to the Armenian Genocide resolution. Rep. Wexler received 66% of the vote against Republican Edward Lynch (27%) and Independent Benjamin Graber (7%).
"Graber’s loss can be attributed to the fact that the 19th Congressional District is overwhelmingly Democratic," explains Michael Toumayan, a political science student at Florida Atlantic University. Additionally, "Wexler has been a leader on Darfur, and other non-Armenian issues that are equally important to Armenian-Americans. Despite his moral stance on Darfur, the economy and healthcare trump the Armenian Genocide issue in this district."
The Armenian National Committee of Florida (ANC of FL) is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots political organization in the State of Florida. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters and supporters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the ANC of FL actively advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.