With just under two weeks remaining before election day, we provide a closer look at the number of AAPI candidates running for office in the 2018 midterm election on November 6. Compared to prior election cycles, AAPIs are running for Congress in greater numbers across a larger group of states.

How we collected the data

To get estimates of the number of AAPI candidates for prior election cycles we used data from Federal Elections, a report published by the Federal Election Commission every two years that contains election results from each state’s election office and other official sources ( For candidates running in 2018, we updated our previously compiled list (see post) to focus on AAPI Congressional candidates that will appear on ballots in the general election. A full table of general-election candidates appears at the bottom of this post.

The Takeaways

  1. 32 AAPI candidates are running for Congress in November 2018, double the number since 2010


Since the general elections haven’t taken place, the estimate for 2018 includes all AAPI candidates who won the primary and entered the general. For estimates of previous election cycles, we include third-party candidates, but exclude marginal candidates using a 10,000 minimum general election vote threshold for each candidates. Based on this data, more AAPI candidates are running for Congress than ever before. 


  1. AAPIs are running for Congress in 16 different states, up from just 8 in 2014


From 2010 to 2018, about 1 out of 3 AAPI candidates for Congress ran in California. Importantly, however, 2018 features a significantly greater number of states with AAPIs running for Congress.


  1. The vast majority of AAPI candidates for Congress are Democrats

Consistent with previous election cycles, the majority of AAPI candidates for Congress are running as Democrats in 2018. Among 78% of Democratic AAPI candidates in 2018, 38% are California AAPIs, 8% come from Arizona, and another 8% come from Hawaii. Most of the growth in the number of AAPI candidates is driven by increases in the number of Democratic candidates rather than Republican candidates.


Identifying AAPI candidates was done using a series of checks. First, we used ethnic surname analysis that uses a list of surnames from the 2010 Census that has probability estimates that a surname belongs to a particular racial group. This is a commonly used technique in the analysis of administrative records. Next, we cross-referenced our list against known AAPI incumbents via the list of AAPI members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC). Finally, the last step was for our team to flag any uncertain candidates or add candidates that we manually verify.

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