The 2017 SPecial Election for California's 34th Congressional District.
Robert Lee Ahn
In 2017 the 34th Congressional District of California held a special election for the U.S. House of Representatives on June 6, 2017. California's 34th Congressional District is located in the southern portion of the state and includes part of Los Angeles County. It is one of the most ethnically diverse districts in the nation, stretching from Koreatown, Chinatown and Little Tokyo to the skyscrapers of downtown and communities of Eagle Rock and City Terrace, California.
Democrats Jimmy Gomez and Robert Lee Ahn were the top two vote-getters in a primary field of 23 candidates and advanced to the general election. Gomez and Ahn competed in the runoff election on June 6, 2017.
This was the website for Robert Lee Ahn.
Gomez ultimately defeated Ahn by more than 20 percent, 60.1 percent to 30.9 percent.
Content is from the site's 2017 archived pages as well as from other outside soources.
In California 34th, one Dem is clear favorite of PACs and outside groups
By Sara Swann | June 2, 2017 | www.opensecrets.org/
The original 23 contenders on the ballot to fill California’s 34th district seat in the House have dwindled to two. And while one has the edge when it comes to funds raised, the other is the clear winner among outside spending groups.
The last candidates standing, Democrats Jimmy Gomez and Robert Lee Ahn, head to a runoff next Tuesday (June 6), after neither of them drew the required 50 percent of the vote for an outright win in the crowded April primary. The winner will replace Xavier Becerra, who vacated the position after being appointed California’s attorney general.
Pre-runoff reports the candidates filed with the Federal Election Commission indicate Ahn was the more successful fundraiser in the April 1-May 17 period, bringing in $550,000 to Gomez‘s $330,000. But included in Ahn’s total is a $195,000 loan he gave to himself; the two have actually brought in almost the same amount in contributions. PACs, including many associated with labor unions, gave Gomez nearly half of his total for the pre-runoff, while Ahn received all of his funds from individuals.
In addition to that loan, Ahn, a former Los Angeles city planning commissioner who has also worked as an attorney and in real estate, gave his campaign $8,400 in February before the primary. On top of that, he loaned himself another $295,000 in March, according to his pre-special filing. Gomez, who has been in the state assembly since 2012, hasn’t put any of his own money into the race.
Since May 17, 48-hour notices showing donations of $1,000 or more indicate that Ahn has received more than twice as much as Gomez in gifts of that size, $140,000 to $59,000.
But Gomez’s support from outside spending groups has far surpassed Ahn’s. From mid-May to the start of June, Gomez has benefited from about $300,000 in spending by several super PACs, FEC reports show; most of that — $240,000 — has come from the Latino Victory Fund. Only one such group has spent money to support Ahn in that time period: Citizens for a Better Government, which has spent just under $92,000.
Due in part to Gomez’s greater popularity with super PACs, Ahn accused him in the election’s only debate of being a “corporate Democrat” — an attack Gomez parried with a reminder that he’s backed by Bernie Sander’s Our Revolution.
Both candidates tout a multitude of endorsements. Gomez has received most of his from Democrats — including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — and Los Angeles labor unions. Becerra, who resigned from the seat in late January, also endorsed Gomez.
As a former Republican (he switched his affiliation in 2012) and more centrist politician, Ahn has collected testimonials from members of both parties. Former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan, a Republican, announced his support at the end of May, and former California GOP Chairman Shawn Steel has backed Ahn as well.
Together, Gomez and Ahn — both of whom have parents who immigrated to the U.S., Gomez’s from Mexico and Ahn’s from South Korea — have spent more than $2 million so far on this election since early in the year when they started their campaigns.
The two candidates have been heavily relying on advertising by mail to get their campaign messages out. As of June 2, Gomez had reported spending about $245,000 on mailers, including postage, since the start of his campaign, according to FEC data. He has also spent sizable amounts on billboards, newspaper ads and phone banks.
Ahn has spent almost twice as much as Gomez on mailers and postage for his campaign overall — a whopping $500,000, according to FEC data. Many voters in the district received what they called “misleading” and “manipulative” mail from Ahn leading up to the primary. Some of the mail appeared to have information on new polling places in the area, only to have advertisements for Ahn inside. Ahn also used potholders as campaign advertisements, spending about $148,000 to send them out to voters.
Much of the super PAC activity has centered on mail, too, as well as phone banks and in some cases online ads. One thing that’s been almost entirely missing: TV ads. The candidates and groups avoided investing in the costly L.A. TV market in favor of other means of attracting voters.
But it’s unclear how many voters will respond: Only about 42,000 people, or 14 percent of registered voters in the district, cast ballots in the primary.
In 2017 there were original 23 contenders on the ballot to fill California’s 34th district seat in the House. The race eventually was whittled down to two Democrats Jimmy Gomez and Robert Lee Ahn. head to a runoff next Tuesday (June 6), after neither of them drew the required 50 percent of the vote for an outright win in the crowded April primary. And while one has the edge when it comes to funds raised, the other is the clear winner among outside spending groups.
Los Angeles City Planning Commissioner Robert Lee Ahn, a long time community activist, fervent environmentalist, successful entrepreneur and public interest attorney brings to the race to replace Congressman Xavier Becerra (who is retiring to become California Attorney General) a lifetime of dedication to the Los Angeles community and two decades of private sector experience building businesses and creating jobs.
Robert Lee Ahn is a native Angelino. He was born in 1975 at USC County Hospital in Los Angeles to newly arrived immigrants from South Korea. To support Robert and his younger sister, his parents, James and Jain Ahn, worked long hours at numerous jobs and, as a result, he and his younger sister, Christine, spent much of their youth with their grandparents
ROBERT LEE AHN STOOD OUT – EVEN IN HIS EARLY YEARS
Robert’s education was greatly enhanced by the many programs offered at local parks, including art classes, youth camps, and little league baseball. He was a regular at the Westside YMCA, taking competitive swimming and jujitsu classes and excelling in the youth basketball program.
Robert attended local public schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District until he was accepted into the prestigious Harvard School for Boys, an elite private college preparatory school located in the San Fernando Valley, where he played point guard with teammates, and future NBA stars, Jason and Jarron Collins.
Upon graduation from what is now the Harvard-Westlake School, Robert and his family moved to the Wilshire Center neighborhood near Koreatown. He attended Emory University in Atlanta where he earned a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration. While at Emory, Robert tutored at-risk high school children in Math and English, and volunteered at Habitat for Humanity where he worked building housing for the poor and to improve the quality of lives for the city’s underserved residents.
ROBERT LEE AHN – A SUCCESSFUL LAWYER AND BUSINESSMAN
Robert earned a law degree at the University of Southern California Law School. He clerked for Superior Court Judge Richard Fruin and served as a law clerk at Riley and Reiner LLP, where he worked with, and learned from, former Los Angeles District Attorney Ira Reiner. Robert climbed his way up the legal ladder working for several distinguished private law firms. In 2008, he was named Vice President and General Counsel of the Luzatto Company, a privately held independent real estate investment and development company.
In 2010, Robert joined the family business working on real estate and business investments and asset management. Throughout the course of his business career, Robert experienced all aspects of business operations and has first hand knowledge of the many challenges faced by small independent business owners and their employees.
ROBERT LEE AHN – DEVOTED TO COMMUNITY SERVICE
Robert was a charter member and served on the Board of Directors of the Pacific American Volunteer Association (PAVA). PAVA was founded in 2001 to promote volunteerism with an emphasis on environmental concerns. PAVA organizes large scale clean up events of our beaches, coasts and the Los Angeles River.
Robert also served as an officer of the Koreatown Arts and Recreation Center (KARC) steering committee where he helped the community secure over $1 million from developers to develop the Koreatown community center.
Robert’s father, James Ahn, was elected and serves as the President of the Korean American Federation (“KAFLA”), the oldest Korean American organization in Los Angeles. As a senior advisor to the President of KAFLA, Robert helps build relationships with important service organizations like Los Angeles Community College, Wilshire Boulevard Temple, and the Anderson Munger YMCA (where he serves on the Board of Directors).
Then City Council President Eric Garcetti appointed Robert to the Los Angeles City Redistricting Commission in 2011 and in 2013, Mayor Garcetti appointed him to the Los Angeles City Planning Commission where he has served the residents of the 34th Congressional District with distinction.
Robert is a candidate in the special election to replace retiring Congressman Xavier Becerra in the United States House of Representatives. The 34th district includes all of Koreatown, Chinatown, Little Tokyo as well as all or parts of Historic Filipinotown, Hollywood, Hancock Park, Downtown, Eagle Rock, Boyle Heights, City Terrace, Echo Park, El Sereno, Glassell Park, Highland Park, Lincoln Heights, Mt. Washington, Montecito Heights, and Westlake/Pico Union.
"Because my mother worked in the same building where Robert's office was located, she often rode up in the elevator with him. One morning she reached out to him for help when a Google search for her name started revealing inappropriate personal information regarding her chemo treatments. He took her contact info and called her that evening. He agreed that there was a problem and promised that if he were elected he would introduce or support legislation requiring Google and publishers to delete problem Google results when personal information was involved. She was grateful that someone was actually listening to her problem and promising a fix. Robert's concern for my mother was really surprising to me, and I feel it demonstrates the kind of sensitivity we need in our elected officials. I'm supporting Robert Lee Ahn and hope you will as well." Tom Wilson Jr.
President Donald Trump and extremists in Congress seek to strip the elderly and our children’s access to quality, affordable health care. Robert Lee Ahn will stand up to the Republican-led attacks on the Affordable Care Act. Robert Lee Ahn will lead the fight to expand health care access for every American!
Robert Lee Ahn believes every child deserves a quality education. Robert will fight to ensure that our most vulnerable and at-risk children have tools to thrive in today’s economy and skills to compete in tomorrow’s economy. Robert understands that for our children to have any chance of competing in a complex and rapidly changing global economy, a college education must be affordable.
Robert Lee Ahn understands that climate change is an urgent threat to our economy and our children’s future. Robert will defend the pledge we made at the Paris Climate Conference to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and put the United States on a path to reduce American oil consumption. On day one, Robert Lee Ahn will call on Congress to invest in clean energy infrastructure and innovation.
It is our moral obligation to treat every person with dignity. It is essential to our national security that we fix the visa backlog. Robert Lee Ahn will make it a priority to introduce legislation for comprehensive humane immigration reform. Robert will fight to end family detention and close detention centers.
Robert Lee Ahn will ensure that America pursues a foreign policy that is sane, just and maintains our strong support for the under attack democracies of South Korea and Israel. Robert is firmly and unequivocally committed to the State of Israel and will speak out for our friend, the one true democracy in the Middle East.
It is our solemn duty to ensure those who have sacrificed for us receive the benefits and care they have earned. We owe a debt that must be paid. We must improve the quality of healthcare and create and fund programs that provide the opportunities and tools our veterans deserve.
KOREAN AMERICAN DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE ENDORSES CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE ROBERT LEE AHN FOR THE 34th DISTRICT
Contact: Yonah Hong
KOREAN AMERICAN DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE ENDORSES CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE ROBERT LEE AHN FOR THE 34th DISTRICT
Following the Korean American Democratic Committee (KADC) February board meeting, where all the candidates were given the opportunity to interview for endorsement, the KADC board members enthusiastically voted in support of endorsing Ahn because he was clearly the most knowledgeable on issues of foreign policy and the most qualified.
John Yi, the President of the Korean American Democratic Committee stated, “Robert Lee Ahn’s candidacy is an exciting and invaluable opportunity for us to elect a progressive Korean American to Congress. Robert has a solid track record of being a strong advocate for our community, and he is exactly the kind of champion we need in a Congress dominated by Republicans and President Trump.”
The Korean American Democratic Committee (KADC) is a political action committee based out of Los Angeles, California. KADC is a countywide Chartered Democratic Club under the Los Angeles County Democratic Party. Since its inception in 1992 after the Los Angeles Riots, KADC has mobilized the Korean American community to vote and participate in the local, state and federal electoral process.
COFFEE TIME WITH CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE ROBERT LEE AHN
Date: March 20, 2017
Media Contact: Yonah Hong
**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**
LOS ANGELES (EAGLE ROCK), CA — Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 10:30AM
“These, by far have been the most enjoyable and informative experiences of this entire campaign. We have already attended several “Coffee Hour’s” and have more coming. I really look forward to these,” said Robert Lee Ahn, Congressional Candidate in the race to replace Xavier Beccera in the 34th District. Following his “Coffee Hour” that took place at the home of Jennifer Levin and John Eisendrath in Hancock Park last Saturday afternoon, Ahn reflected on the latest in a series of events taking place throughout the district. Immigration, healthcare, the environment and the Trump Administration top the list of issues being discussed at these informal “get-togethers” that are taking place in every corner of the district. “It’s retail politics, shaking peoples hands and looking them in the eye and letting them know where I stand on the issues and hearing the issues that they want me to prioritize. People are tired of politics as usual. They want someone who can help clean up the mess in Washington and who isn’t beholden to special interests. They want a leader. Someone who can be effective on day 1. I am that candidate,” concluded Ahn.
The next “Coffee Hour” is at the popular Zweet Café in Eagle Rock on Tuesday, March 20th, hosted by none other than the candidate’s own sister, Christine Cho, who also resides in the 34th District. “I am so proud of him. He’s always been someone who looks out for others. He has always been someone who tries to make things better for people, always trying to help,” said Cho. “Growing up, Bobby always looked out for me. He is a great big brother and I know he will make a great congressman. I’m excited about this opportunity to introduce him to my friends and neighbors. I hope lots of people come and hear from Bobby and learn what I already know, that he’s the best choice for Congress,” concluded Cho.
The 34th District represents all of Koreatown, Chinatown, Little Tokyo, as well as all or parts of Historic Filipinotown, Hollywood, Hancock Park, Downtown, Eagle Rock, Boyle Heights, City Terrace, Echo Park, El Sereno, Glassell Park, Highland Park, Lincoln Heights, Mt. Washington, Montecito Heights, and Westlake/Pico Union.
Robert Lee Ahn, if elected, would be the ONLY Korean American to hold a seat in the United States Congress. This would be historic.
EVENT: “Coffee Time with Congressional Candidate Robert Lee Ahn in Eagle Rock”
DATE/TIME: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 10:30AM
LOCATION: Zweet Café – 4682 Eagle Rock Blvd., LA, 90041
AHN FOR CONGRESS 34-HOUR KOREATOWN VOTER REGISTRATION MARATHON
Date: March 15, 2017
Media Contact: Yonah Hong
**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**
LOS ANGELES (KOREATOWN), CA — Friday, March 17, 2017 at 10:00AM
Beginning Friday, March 17th at 10:00AM, the Robert Lee Ahn for Congress campaign will be registering voters to participate in the April 4th election. The popular BCD Tofu House located at 3575 Wilshire Blvd., will host the event in hopes of registering many of the 27,000 unregistered Koreans in the 34th Congressional District. “This may be our community’s only opportunity to have a voice in the United States House of Representatives. It is vital that everyone is registered and that everyone casts a vote,” explained Campaign Manager David Meraz. “We want everyone to come down to BCD Tofu House at any time of day or night and register to vote. We don’t want there to be any excuses to not register and vote,” concluded Meraz.
If elected, Robert Lee Ahn will be the ONLY Korean American serving in Congress and only the 16th Asian American. “For far too long we have not had a seat at the table, the concerns of our community are often ignored. This is our chance to stand up and be counted. We can no longer wait for someone else to be our voice. It is our time and we must seize it,” said Ahn. “If everyone takes this as a personal responsibility, we will be successful. If people stay home and don’t vote, we won’t; its that simple.” Ahn will be there in person registering voters throughout the event. “I’m excited to meet people and register them. This also gives me an opportunity to talk to voters and share ideas and hear from our community.”
The 34th district represents all of Koreatown, Chinatown, Little Tokyo, as well as all or parts of Historic Filipinotown, Hollywood, Hancock Park, Downtown, Eagle Rock, Boyle Heights, City Terrace, Echo Park, El Sereno, Glassell Park, Highland Park, Lincoln Heights, Mt. Washington, Montecito Heights, and Westlake/Pico Union. Based on the Political Data Incorporated (PDI) Count Report (as of March 2017), there are 18,694 registered Korean American voters in the 34th district and according to the 2010 US Census, there are over 1.7 million Koreans living in the United States. Robert Lee Ahn, if elected, would be the ONLY Korean American to hold a seat in the United States Congress. This would be historic.
EVENT: “The Robert Lee Ahn for Congress 34-Hour Koreatown Voter Registration Marathon”
DATE/TIME: Friday, March 17, Beginning at 10:00AM (for 34 HOURS: until Saturday, March 18)
LOCATION: BCD Tofu House (Patio)
3575 Wilshire Blvd., LA, 90010
CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE ROBERT LEE AHN’S GROWING CONCERNS ABOUT NORTH KOREA’S ESCALATING MISSILE LAUNCHES OVER THE EAST SEA
Date: March 7, 2017
Media Contact: Yonah Hong
**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**
LOS ANGELES (KOREATOWN), CA – Congressional candidate Robert Lee Ahn today expressed what he termed “growing concerns” over North Korea’s escalating number of banned missile launches over the East Sea.
Ahn said that North Korea has launched a number of missiles over the past few months and also conducted 2 nuclear tests last year. “The North Korean nuclear threat is real and imminent, placing South Korea and Japan in danger. Left unchecked, it is only a matter of time before North Korea will develop a delivery system capable of delivering a nuke to Southern California.”
Ahn continued, “North Korea’s Kim Jong Un tries to disguise the reason for his intention to build a nuclear missile program by claiming the United States and South Korea are planning to invade his country.”
“My understanding is that the Trump Administration is in the process of developing policy to address North Korea’s dangerous and threatening behaviors. One thing is certain,” Ahn concluded, “the international community cannot afford to continue to allow Kim Jong Un’s aggressive behavior to continue.”
Robert Lee Ahn is a candidate for the United States Congress in the 34the Congressional District.