WASHINGTON, DC – The Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives yesterday ended Speaker Hastert’s Congressional reign, opening the door to the Speakership of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), a twenty year supporter of Armenian American issues, including Armenian Genocide recognition, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
Rep. Pelosi issued a statement last week pledging support for Armenian Genocide legislation during the 110th Congress.
With Senators George Allen (R-VA) and Conrad Burns conceding defeat on Thursday, the Democrats now have majority of the Senate as well. The victory of New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), returns him to the Senate, where he has distinguished himself by blocking the appointment of Armenian Genocide denier Richard Hoagland as U.S. Ambassador to Armenia.
“We are tremendously proud of the vital and energetic role that Armenian Americans played this election season – a watershed transition of Congressional power that holds great meaning for our community’s legislative agenda,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “On the House side, we certainly welcome the fall from power of Dennis Hastert – who, as Speaker, prevented a bipartisan majority of his colleagues from voting for U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide – and his expected replacement by Nancy Pelosi, who has a strong record in support of Armenian American issues. On the Senate side, we are very gratified by the victory in New Jersey of Senator Bob Menendez – our top electoral priority this election season. Inspired by his principled stand against the Hoagland nomination, Armenian Americans throughout the Garden State – led by the ANC of New Jersey – truly came through for the Menendez campaign, delivering volunteers, campaign contributions, and, most importantly, tens of thousands of votes in support of his electoral victory,” added Hamparian.
ANCA endorsed candidates won overwhelmingly in the House, with 184 of 198 endorsed candidates securing decisive wins and three races still too close to call. Of the 159 members of the Congressional Armenian Caucus, 140 members won re-election, including Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI). Amongst those who lost their re-election bid was Armenian American Congressman John Sweeney (R-NY), who, with the support of ANC-NY, battled in one of the tightest races in the country. Armenian American Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) won her reelection bid with 71% of the vote.
In the Senate, 13 of 15 ANCA endorsed candidates won their election bids, with the Virginia Senate race featuring Sen. George Allen (R-VA) and Democrat Jim Webb still too close to call. Winners included Armenian Genocide Resolution lead sponsor John Ensign (R-NV), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and House members Ben Cardin and Sherrod Brown who won Senate seats in Maryland and Ohio, respectively. Pennsylvania Senator, Rick Santorum (R-PA), lead cosponsor of the Caucasus Railroad Bypass bill, lost his Senate reelection bid to Democrat Ed Casey. Perennial opponent of Armenian American concerns, West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd won his re-election bid as well.