Election Roundup: Korean American Candidates Roy Cho and Young Kim Score Victories


A dozen Korean Americans were on Tuesday’s primary ballots, but only a handful emerged victorious from their respective races. Among the big winners were Democrat and first-time congressional candidate Roy Cho of New Jersey, who won an impressive 90 percent of the vote and will move on to the general election for the state’s 5th Congressional District; and California’s Republican State Assembly candidate Young Kim who will also advance to the November election.

More than half of the Korean Americans candidates were running for seats in California.

Here’s the roundup of how the candidates performed at the June 2 primaries.


Republican State Assembly candidate Young Kim is now a step closer to “kicking butt” as she famously declared last year, after garnering 54.7 percent of the vote to incumbent Democrat Sharon Quirk-Silva’s 45.3. The historically conservative 65th District went to Quirk-Silva in 2012, which allowed the Democrats to gain the supermajority in the State Assembly.

In the 24th District of the State Senate, Peter Choi is headed to the general elections with fellow Democrat Kevin De Leon, after collecting 20.3 percent of the vote and finishing in the top two. Sam Kang (6.4%) also lost in his bid (31.1%) for a seat in the 15th District in the California Assembly, as did Mary Chung Hayashi (21%) in her 10th State Senate District race.

Meanwhile, Michelle Park Steel (46.6%) advanced to the general elections for the 2nd District seat for the Orange County Board of Supervisors seat. Carol Kim (31.05%) came in at second in the 6th District seat for the San Diego City Council and will face Chris Cate in the general election in November.

James Na was on the ballot even though he withdrew from the race for the 4th District seat on the San Bernadino County Board of Supervisors last February and still received 9.34 percent of the votes.

Three Korean Americans ran for Los Angeles County Superior Court judgeships this year. Prosecutor Ann H. Park ran unopposed and won her race. Criminal prosecutor Helen Kim (43.3 percent) lost to Alison M. Estrada (56.7 percent), while Songhai “Sunny” Armstead (47.65 percent) ran a closer race, but still lost to Teresa P. Magno (52.35 percent).

New Jersey

In the 5th District for Congress, Democrat Roy Cho of Hackensack garnered 90.4 percent of the vote which will send him to the general election in November, when he’ll face Republican Scott Garrett, the incumbent.


Rep. Rick Allen will face Democrat John J. Barrow in the general elections in November after Eugene Yu garnered only 16.5 percent of the vote.

(This story reflects corrections to the total number of candidates in the June 2 primaries. An earlier version stated the total number in all 2014 primaries, including those after June 2–that figure is 20. It also corrects the results for Peter Choi’s race.)

The original version of this story erroneously stated that Carol Kim lost to Chris Cate. We regret the error.