David Wu (吳振偉), the first Taiwan-born member of the US Congress, is in a tight race for re-election.
“It’s a very serious situation,” he said on Wednesday.
Wu, a Democrat from the state of Oregon, has been in Congress for 12 years and won his last re-election bid with a substantial 71 percent of the vote, but in this anti-incumbent year with US President Barack Obama falling ever lower in the popularity polls, there are growing signs that the Republicans could recapture the House of Representatives and threaten even the once-safe seats of long-serving members such as Wu.
Born in Hsinchu in 1955, Wu’s family moved to the US in 1961 and he has a law degree from Yale.
A member of the Taiwan Caucus and supporter of pro-Taiwan legislation, Wu is only a few percentage points ahead of Republican opponent Rob Cornilles, a wealthy Oregon businessman who is married to a Chinese-American woman.
With the election just over three months away and with Republican momentum growing across the country, the Wu-Cornilles race is considered too close to call.
At a press lunch held at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee headquarters, Wu made no secret of his discomfort.
“If there was ever a time to help, this is it,” he said.
The right-wing New York Post recently reported that most of the relevant public polling indicated that Republicans were in a position “to compete” for the 40 seats they need to take the House and the big race to watch as an indication of what could happen, the newspaper said, was Wu’s re-election bid in Oregon’s First Congressional District.
“Cornilles has access to personal wealth and is considered by national Republicans to be a solid candidate who has thus far run a very professional, credible race,” the newspaper said.
As it heats up, the race could get both personal and dirty.
The Cornilles camp has already released a video of Wu driving a big black “gas-guzzling” SUV and contrasting it with his votes for tougher fuel-efficiency standards.
During the press lunch, Wu said that he was confident a resolution calling on the Obama administration to push for observer status for Taiwan at the International Civil Aviation Organization would pass this week and that it would have an impact on White House policies.
He also said that he had been disappointed with the outcome of a meeting held earlier this week with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to discuss the participation of Asian-American and Pacific Islander funds in Treasury Department programs.
Wu accused Geithner of displaying a “cavalier and insensitive attitude.”
“The days of an all-Ivy League financial leadership in lock-step, both in attitude and background, are over. America is the land of aspiration,” he said. “We are at our best when we encourage the aspirations of all, rather than the chosen few.”
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