There are just days to go until Primary Day on June 25, and the race for a state Assembly seat in Queens is heating up.

Incumbent Ron Kim defends his seat against two Democratic primary challengers, and the candidates say the top issues are crime and affordability.

What You Need To Know

  • Incumbent Ron Kim defends his seat against two Democratic primary challengers: Yi Andy Chen and Dao Yin

  • Nearly 70% of the district identifies as Asian-American, according to data from the CUNY Graduate Center

  • A recent report alleges Yin filed fake donations to get public campaign finance dollars under the new statewide system

Elected in 2012, Democrat Ron Kim represents the majority-Asian, 40th State Assembly District spanning the Flushing, Queens area.

“This is a district that I grew up in. And this is a district that I’m raising my family in,” Kim, a father of two, said.

He moved to the U.S. from South Korea at six years old and grew up in New York. Kim got his political start in the City Council, under now-state Senator John Liu, a Queens Democrat.

Kim gained recognition during the pandemic, advocating for nursing home families.

“Right now, this is a crisis moment in Flushing. There’s a shrinking middle class and out of control, you know, super mega buildings — million dollar complexes going up and people stuck in the bottom of the social ladder,” Kim said.

Kim said that he works with individuals on all sides of the political spectrum. This weekend, Mayor Eric Adams endorsed his campaign, and Kim told NY1 that he is also expecting an endorsement from Democratic Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“For the last 12 years, he [was not] engaged with the community and respecting the voice of the community and he basically has failed the job,” candidate Yi Andy Chen said, explaining why he’s running.

Originally from China, Chen moved to the district following his failed 2021 City Council bid in the nearby Elmhurst, Queens district. Chen owns and works at his medical supply company in Flushing.

Chen also addressed endorsements from the American Chinese Commerce Association, a group with ties to the Chinese Communist Party. He denied ties to the political group.

Chen argues Kim is not prioritizing safety.

“We [are] facing a lot of Asian hates, and hate crimes, so I think this is the number one issue that we have to tackle to keep our people safe,” Chen said.

During the pandemic, Kim reversed his prior pro-Defund the Police position, calling for National Guard in the subway system.

“I was the first one to ask Governor Hochul to work with the National Guard at the peak of Asian-Americans getting attacked to keep us safe,” Kim said.

Both candidates back expanded gifted and talented programs in public schools. Kim also wants a new specialized high school in Queens.

Nearly 70% of the district identifies as Asian-American, according to data from the CUNY Graduate Center. Recently, some Asian voters have cast ballots against Democrats, though the district favored President Joe Biden in 2020.

However, data shows more voters in the district backed Republican Lee Zeldin over Gov. Kathy Hochul in 2022. Last cycle, Kim barely beat his GOP opponent.

“They do not see the representation addressing those issues, so they feel disappointed,” Chen said.

Also originally from China, the third candidate, Dao Yin, is a community activist.

He said his top issues were “education, transportation, senior care as well as the overall quality of life of the people [who] live here.”

But a recent report alleges he filed fake donations to get public campaign finance dollars. He said he’s partaking in an internal investigation.

“It was a mistake by my campaign committee, but it was unfortunate it happened,” Yin said.

All three candidates also agree that pausing congestion pricing was a good idea.