Assembly Candidate Accuses Liu of Splitting Korean Vote

40th Assembly District Candidate Myungsuk Lee accuses Comptroller John Liu of trying to split the Korean vote.(Photo by Guy Tsui/World Journal)

Even as New York City Comptroller John Liu faces a probe into his own campaign fundraising, he remains a popular and powerful figure among Chinese and other Asian New Yorkers, so his endorsement carries serious clout. But a Korean-American candidate in the primary race for the 40th State Assembly District is accusing Liu of misusing that political clout — splitting the Korean vote to help a Chinese candidate, Ethel Chen, win the race, the World Journal reports.

On the 15th, a candidate for the 40th State Assembly District, Myungsuk Lee, chastised New York City Comptroller John Liu, accusing him of splitting the Korean vote in order to allow a Chinese candidate to win the race. Lee and his supporters would like Liu to give them an explanation, warning that otherwise, Liu would have a lot to answer when he runs for mayor next year.

Liu said that Lee is his friend and they both graduated from SUNY Binghamton. Lee consulted him when he decided to run for State Assembly. A few weeks later, [another Korean,] Ron Kim, also told Liu that he was running the same race. After considering their strengths and weaknesses, Liu decided to endorse Kim, but he said he also wishes Lee the best.

Lee produced the text messages and phone records that he exchanged with Liu. According to Lee, Liu intentionally lured him to enter the race, but at the very last minute, he endorsed a different candidate, who had not had any intention of running either. So the race now includes two Korean candidates. Through this election, Liu is able to look like that he supports the Korean community while actually dividing it.

For his part, Kim accused of Lee of trying to distract attention from a scandal of his own — a New York Post article that found advertisements for prostitution services in the Korean American Times, which Lee owns, with some of the ads leading back to businesses housed at the same address as Lee’s publishing and campaign offices in Flushing.

To respond, Kim said that that Lee is full of lies and that he is lying to distract the voters from the allegation that Lee’s newspaper has prostitution ads. Kim said that as soon as Grace Meng decided to run for Congress, he has been meeting with different people to garner their support.

“Lee does not know how politics works,” he said.

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