Who will American Azerbaijanis support in presidential elections?

Who will American Azerbaijanis support in presidential elections?
# 07 January 2008 10:09 (UTC +04:00)
The Azerbaijanis living in the US will also actively participate in the presidential elections in November. APA’s US bureau learnt the opinions of heads of Diaspora organizations in the United States.

Tomris Azeri, the president of American Azerbaijan Society says they have been meeting and attending fund-raising activities of all the candidates, volunteering in their campaigning offices.
“We have been sending a questioner to all the candidates asking them to explain their stance on Azerbaijan. We got close to Senator McCain in 2000 election year, we’ve attended his fund-raising events. Mayor Guiliani knows ASA, we have letters from him acknowledging our Republic day and Independence day. We’ve met him several times. In fact at ASA we are very much hoping that in 2008 republican presidential election ticket we will see McCain/Guiliani. I have personally attended Hillary Clinton fund-raising event. Turkish community in NY has very close relations with his campaign. Iowa caucus was the first step in US presidential election process, well organized campaigns got Obama and Huckabee elected, ASA is preparing a letter to send to both of these winners. Hearing about Senator Obama being close to Armenians does not bother me at all. We can also be close to him, if we could only learn how to attend their meetings and fund-raising events. In order to advance and organize our efforts to define and clarify the Azerbaijani situation we feel, we must meet and talk with our representatives and get involved in the election process. ASA will be very much involved in 2008 US presidential election process, as we have been for many years.

Adil Baqirov, the vise president of “Worldwide Strategic Partners” International Research Institute told APA’s US bureau that the primaries have started in the U.S., which is a complex process of selecting the most popular Republican and Democratic presidential contenders that goes on in every state.
“The result would be those parties nominating their most popular representative for President during their respective summer 2008 conventions. The first state for
primaries traditionally is Iowa, followed by New Hampshire. The
results of Iowa were not surprizing and predicted by pollsters. For
Republicans, Mike Huckabee came in first, Mitt Romney second and Fred
Thompson third, whilst Rudy Giuliani only came in sixth. For
Democrats, Barack Obama came in first, John Edwards came in second and
Hillary Clinton third. What does all this mean for
Azerbaijani-Americans and for Azerbaijan, which is a strategic U.S.
ally? So far, not too much, because the first states where primaries
are held are too small to make real differences in the U.S. political
process - that states that matter are the large states with large
population, such as New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas,
Florida, especially California (the largest population), and a few
other states. Half of the Republican candidates, such as Rudy Giuliani (#6), Duncan
Hunter (#7) and Mike Huckabee (#1) (although when he was Governor of
Arkansas, Mr. Huckabee did issue a proclamation about the "Armenian
genocide"), are friendly and understanding towards issues facing
Azerbaijani-Americans and ally nation of Azerbaijan, although other
candidates, such as Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson and John McCain, have
less definitive and in some cases potentially unfriendly stances.
However, only Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huchabee have a realistic chance
from among the Republicans, hence their views and opinions are most
important. Meanwhile, neither Barack Obama (#1) nor especially John Edwards (#2)
can be viewed as very friendly or understanding towards issues facing
Azerbaijani-Americans, and the strategic U.S. ally which is
Azerbaijan. Although Sen. Obama is among a handful of presidential
candidates who actually visited Azerbaijan, he does strongly support
Armenian claims. Meanwhile, former Sen. Edwards’ national campaign
manager (chief of staff [apparatin sadri]) is the former Congressman
David Bonior (D-MI), who was very close with the Armenian lobby and
played a devastating role in spearheading the enactment and
maintaining of the notorious Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act of
1992, and even introduced a House Resolution 86, which was supposed to
place even greater restrictions on Azerbaijan than the Sec 907. Also,
Sen. Edwards is the former running mate of Sen. John Kerry in 2004,
who was an ardent supporter of the Armenian lobby, and one of the
fathers of Section 907 and other anti-Azerbaijani and anti-Turkish
resolutions. Neither can anything positive be said of other Democratic
candidates, such as Con. Dennis Kucinich (#8) and Sen. Joe Biden (#5),
who are all supporters of the Armenian lobby. Although, Sen. Hillary
Clinton (#3) and Gov. Bill Richardson (#4) are friendly and
understanding towards issues facing Azerbaijani-Americans and ally
nation of Azerbaijan. Like in case with Republican candidates, only
Hillary Clinton and less so Barack Obama seem to have a realistic
chance from among the Democrats,” he said.
“As is known, the Azerbaijani, and more widely, Turkic communities of
the United States, depending on their party affiliation, have always
supported Mayor Giuliani and Senator Clinton, and thus, hope that they
would win the nomination of their respective parties. Meanwhile, Mayor
Giuliani will not win the next primaries, in New Hampshire, Michigan
and South Carolina, but is expected to win Nevada, California,
Florida, New Jersey, New York, and other important states, thus
gathering the most votes and winning the Republican Party’s
nomination. Likewise, Sen. Clinton might win or be #2 in the next
primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina, but is expected to win
after that in Michigan, Nevada, Florida, California, New Jersey, New
York, and other states, and winning the Democratic Party’s nomination.
Finally, whilst Hillary Clinton is the perceived favorite to win the
U.S. Presidential elections in November 2008, polls show that either
Giuliani or McCain from among the Republicans can defeat her. Since
McCain is highly unlikely to secure the Republican Party’s nomination,
the choice of the Republicans will be Giuliani,” Adil
Baqirov said.

Javid Huseynov, the president of American Azerbaijan Council said the primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire were definitely indicative of
the current voter trend in those states.
“And although the impressive showing by Senator Obama in both states came as a surprise, his lead in these two states was already predicted, for example, by the CNN
Election Center. So at this point it would be premature to make
generalizations about a nationwide voter trend. According to the
Newsweek magazine, for example, Iowa voters tend to change their votes
in last moment and during the 2004 Democratic primaries, Howard Dean
was in the lead, yet, in the end, John Kerry was nominated as the
party candidate based on nationwide results.
In my opinion, the fate of candidates will be decided in the upcoming
primaries of both parties in such important and populous states as
California, New York, Texas and Florida. The same CNN Election Center
predicts big lead for Senator Clinton over Senator Obama at 56% vs.
22%. Of course, one should not underestimate the appeal of young and
energetic Senator Obama and his absolute popularity among younger
generations of Americans. Just as an example, he has a huge lead over
other candidates in Facebook social networking polls. But most
Americans at this point are looking for a big change, and they’re
unlikely to entrust that change to younger and less experienced
Senator Obama. One should also not underestimate the popularity of
former President Clinton and his support for the former first lady’s
election campaign, which will definitely have an influence on both
Democratic and Republican voter choices.
Similar situation exists in the Republic camp, where Mike Huckabee’s
lead in Iowa and Mitt Romney’s lead in the State of Wyoming with a
population of 500,000 is likely to have very little impact on larger
voter bases in California, with a population of nearly 37 million, for
instance, where Republican candidates like Mayor Giuliani and Senator
McCain are likely to have a considerable lead. It is still difficult
to make particular conclusions at this point, but in my opinion
Giuliani-Clinton runoff in November elections may not be unlikely.
Obviously, Azerbaijan cannot be the primary issue in general U.S.
election politics at this point. However, the foreign policy programs
of the candidates in regards to South Caucasus and Caspian region, and
on the issues of primary interests of Azerbaijan will obviously
reflect on the choices and votes of Azerbaijani-Americans. I was
pleasantly surprised, for instance, to find out about the attention
Mike Huckabee pays in his foreign policy summary to Azerbaijan and
Turkey, appreciating their importance in regional energy security. On
the other hand, we all know about the one-sided stance that Senator
Obama has taken on the issue of claims of Armenian Genocide and
accusations against Turkey, which should probably be noted by the
Turkish American voters. It nevertheless is important to reach out to
Senator Obama in addressing vital community concerns, because even if
he is not nominated in current elections, he is very likely to
reappear in future elections as a strong and more experienced
Democratic candidate,” he said. /APA/
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