Lawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator

Lawmakers urge DNC to name Asian American debate moderator
© Greg Nash

Members of Congress on Tuesday called on the Democratic National Committee to ensure that at least one of the party's presidential debates features an Asian American-Pacific Islander moderator.

In a letter to DNC Chairman Tom PerezThomas Edward PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE, lawmakers writing on behalf of the ASPIRE PAC, which serves as the political arm of Asian American-Pacific Islander (AAPI) members of Congress, argued that having representation among the moderators would reflect the demographic's role in the 2020 elections.

"We believe that the DNC could take a big step forward in reaching these voters by ensuring that there is an AAPI moderator for at least one of the debates. We ask that you make this request to the networks that are competing to televise the debates," the lawmakers wrote.

"Next year, there will be 11 million eligible AAPI voters, which will account for 5% of the electorate. AAPIs increased their participation rate in the 2018 midterm elections by the largest amount of any racial group, and are poised to be the difference makers in key battleground states," the lawmakers wrote.

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They further noted that three Asian American and Pacific Islanders are running for the Democratic presidential nomination: Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRep. Bobby Rush endorses Bloomberg's White House bid Actor Michael Douglas endorses Bloomberg for president Democrats: McConnell impeachment trial rules a 'cover-up,' 'national disgrace' MORE (D-Calif.), who is of Indian and Jamaican descent; Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardGabbard knocks Clinton's jab at Sanders: 'This isn't high school' The data is clear: A woman could win in 2020 'I Like Bernie' hashtag trends after Clinton criticizes Sanders MORE (D-Hawaii) and entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangSanders joins Biden atop 2020 Democratic field: poll Sanders holds four-point lead on Biden in new California poll Yang highlights outsider status in Iowa ad ahead of caucuses MORE.

The letter was signed by Democratic Reps. Grace MengGrace MengChina sentences former Interpol president to more than 13 years for bribery Hillicon Valley: Progressives oppose funding bill over surveillance authority | Senators call for 5G security coordinator | Facebook gets questions over location tracking | Louisiana hit by ransomware attack Progressives oppose spending stopgap measure over surveillance authority extension MORE (N.Y.), Judy ChuJudy May ChuHillicon Valley: FCC moves against Huawei, ZTE | Dem groups ask Google to reconsider ads policy | Bill introduced to increase data access during probes Dems call out Oracle for lack of diversity on its board Bicameral group of Democrats introduces bill to protect immigrant laborers MORE (Calif.), Ed CaseEdward (Ed) CaseMORE (Hawaii), TJ Cox (Calif.), Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clash over rules Jayapal: 'We will end up with another Donald Trump' if the US doesn't elect a progressive House revives agenda after impeachment storm MORE (Wash.), Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clash over rules House revives agenda after impeachment storm Steyer calls for cuts to defense spending MORE (Calif.), Ted LieuTed W. LieuDemocratic lawmaker dismisses GOP lawsuit threat: 'Take your letter and shove it' Democratic lawmaker says Nunes threatened to sue him over criticism Paralysis of nations is empowering cities MORE (Calif.), Doris MatsuiDoris Okada MatsuiLobbying World Bipartisan food allergy legislation gains ground in Congress, but the fight has only just begun Democrats demand FCC act over leak of phone location data MORE (Calif.), Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyRep. Bobby Rush endorses Bloomberg's White House bid Sanders, Warren battle for progressive endorsements Bloomberg's congressional endorsers grow to three MORE (Fla.) and Mark TakanoMark Allan TakanoVA leader must demonstrate commitment to ending harassment GOP claims vindication, but Van Drew decision doesn't spark defections Mark Takano keeps using partisan tactics when legislating veterans issues MORE (Calif.), as well as Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoDemocrats request briefing on intel behind Trump's embassy threat claim Former Hawaii Democratic governor calls on Gabbard to resign Gabbard under fire for 'present' vote on impeachment MORE (D-Hawaii).

Meng serves as chairwoman of the ASPIRE PAC, and as a DNC vice chairwoman.

"I am hopeful that this can happen and look forward to Chairman Perez responding to our request. I am confident that host networks will not have trouble finding qualified and talented AAPIs to include in their moderator panels," Meng said in a statement.

The DNC did not immediately return a request for comment.

The DNC has already committed to ensuring that at least one woman and one person of color serves as a moderator at each of its primary debates for the 2020 cycle.

"The DNC is committed to an inclusive and fair debate process," DNC senior adviser Mary Beth Cahill told Refinery29 in May. "That means that all 12 DNC-sanctioned debates will feature a diverse group of moderators and panelists including women and people of color, ensuring that the conversations reflect the concerns of all Americans."

The first two presidential debates, hosted by NBC News and CNN, featured female, Hispanic and African American moderators.

Moderators for the third presidential debate next month, which will be hosted by ABC News and Univision, have not yet been announced.