Republican Candidate for State Senate District 11 Vickie Paladino laid claim to representing the Asian community better than her Democratic Asian opponent John Liu after receiving an endorsement by a Chinese media mogul.
Weiwei Gao is the chief executive officer and founder of MGM International Media, Inc., a network of Chinese-language blogs that generate more than 210 million views, and she gave an endorsement to Paladino.
Gao’s endorsement notes that Mrs. Paladino is a supporter of Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT), which a vast majority of Asian-Americans are interested in protecting after Mayor Bill de Blasio bid to get rid of it.
De Blasio, and to a certain extent, Liu, believe that one exam is not a fair way to decide who gets into the schools and wants to make these specialized schools more inclusive to blacks and Hispanics.
But the plans of ending SHSAT has received a lot of pushback in the Asian community, who believe that the exams that grants eligibility to the city’s specialized academic high schools is a fair way of judging academic excellence and that if others want to get in they should study more.
“We have gotten a lot of support from the Chinese community. There has been a real outreach from groups within the Asian-American community,” Thomas Paladino Jr., communications director and chief strategist for Vickie Paladino, said. “[They] really reached out for us. We didn’t solicit them. They came for us because they are very, very worried about John Liu.”
Paladino’s campaign said, “the values of the Asian community in Queens are all the things we represent better than John Liu,” effectively saying Liu is more out of touch with his own race.
“I am sure John Liu has support in his community as well, but a huge percentage are coming to us. They feel that his values, as a liberal Democrat, don’t align well with their traditional Chinese values— family, faith, and small business,” Paladino Jr. said.
Liu’s campaign has declined to comment.
The Paladino family are Trump supporters, and in recent story in Gothamist, their integrity has been questioned. This includes insensitive postings on Twitter and Gab.com, a website that enables hateful speech, and associations with the controversial Proud Boys, the Paladinos evoke far-right racism. This includes the Thomas Paladino Twitter post feathured on Gothamist.
When asked about Gothamist’s article, Paladino Jr. said the publication wrote the exact opposite of what he told them, claiming the author of the article did not properly quote his campaign.
“I defy anyone to show hard evidence [of racism] involved in our campaign other than a random internet comment from people who have nothing to do with us,” Paladino Jr. said.
The election is Nov. 6. The district includes College Point, Whitestone, Bayside, Flushing, Jamaica Estates, Fresh Meadows, Bellerose, Floral Park, Jamaica, Douglaston, Little Neck, Auburndale, Kissena Park and Briarwood.