TOMS RIVER, NJ – New Jersey Congressman Andy Kim this week responded to his Republican challenger Tricia Flanagan after Flanagan aired a commercial saying Kim, who is Asian-American, “Is not one of us”.
Kim said he felt Flanagan’s commercial which painted Kim as not like everyone else in Ocean County had racial undertones against his Asian ethnicity.
Flanagan, who is running in the third Congressional district appears to not live within the district. Her 2020 campaign for U.S. Senate listed her base as District 12’s Lawrenceville.
The commercial aired by Flanagan attacked Kim for his ties to Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama. Kim was an Obama-era staffer, the only government files on public record identify him as a “note-taker” in briefings.
Now, in the middle of his second term in office, Kim has won over many Ocean County residents despite his past radical left views and he’s asking Flanagan to drop what he says is a racially motivated, anti-Asian attack against him.
“I am writing to press you to stop saying “He is not one of us” in campaign attack ads against me. I’ve heard these hurtful words many times as an Asian American and your use in a campaign for Congress disrespects me and many AAPIs. You and I haven’t met yet so I am not going to immediately assume the worst,” Kim asked Flanagan. “I am hoping that you said these words without understanding the deeper pain they bring to me and many Asian Americans. The words try to paint me as an “other.” These are words of division not unity.“Not one of us” are words that make it sound like I don’t belong here.”
We reached out to Flanagan’s campaign, but they refused to respond. Kim said Flanagan’s words not only strike deep at his Asian descent but also that of his children.
“”I went to kindergarten in my district, grew up here and am raising my kids here, so when you say “he is not one of us” it disrespects my love and connection to this community that raised me and my kids.“Not one of us” are words my immigrant parents heard all too often that caused them to be reluctant to talk in public for fear of having someone mock their accents despite living here in America for 50 years.” Kim said. “‘Not one of us’ are words that echo and enable the taunts that my 5 year old boy experienced when a bigger kid kept calling him “Chinese Boy.” “Not one of us” are words that make many Asian Americans constantly feel like we are seen as foreigners in our own country. A few months ago a 65 year old AAPI woman was attacked on streets of NYC while her attacker yelled “you don’t belong here.” I assume your response will be that “not one of us” is about politics not race.”
Instead, Kim said Flanagan ‘is not one of us’, having never lived in the district she’s running for office in.
“I know you’re new to this district. You’ve never lived here, so maybe you think this kind of language works. But let me tell you, people are sick and tired of the politics of division,” Kim added. “They don’t want to be told they don’t belong. You mention that this is a district that Trump won, and you’re right. But the Rep here should respect and serve everyone in the district regardless of who they voted for. If you’re running to sow division, maybe you should reconsider. That’s not what this job is about. There’s a long way to go until November of next year. Maybe you’ll be the nominee. Maybe we’ll get to debate. Let’s focus on what matters. This is a job about service, it’s a job about community, and it’s a job that requires empathy. Let’s act accordingly.”
The Third Congressional District has a growing Asian, Hispanic, and African American population available for Kim to rally desperately needed votes in Ocean County which has overwhelmingly voted against him during his previous two elections. The anti-Asian rhetoric could also solidify Kim’s base in Burlington County.
Whether or not Flanagan is a contender in the GOP primary next year is irrelevant to the fact that she gave Kim a liberal rally call a full year and a half before the 2022 midterm election that could propel him once again past his eventual Republican challenger.