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April 28, 2009

Is Van Tran the GOP's future?

It wasn’t long ago that Republican leaders considered Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao to be the future of the GOP, but now the party is turning its attention to another Vietnamese-American politician at the onset of its recruitment efforts for the 2010 midterms.

My story in today’s POLITICO looks at California Assemblyman Van Tran, who Republicans believe is one of their leading recruits this election:

On the heels of an election marked by a dismal performance among Asian voters, top Republicans are aggressively recruiting California Assemblyman Van Tran, a Vietnamese-American, to challenge Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) next year.

If elected, Tran would be the second Vietnamese-American in Congress, after Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao (R-La.), who won his seat in a 2008 election.

Tran has already been feted at the National Republican Congressional Committee’s March fundraising dinner as a guest of the committee’s recruitment chairman, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and he was encouraged to run by House Minority Leader John Boehner and Minority Whip Eric Cantor. He also made a trip to Washington after last November’s election to meet with officials from the NRCC.

Even Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has assisted in the recruitment process, meeting with Tran and offering support for any potential candidacy. Tran was an outspoken backer of McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign and helped him carry Orange County over Mitt Romney in the Republican presidential primary….

“I’ve been working on recruitment, and this is one of the top people I’ve gone after since the very beginning,” said McCarthy, who served in the state Assembly with Tran. “Tran transcends Republican politics, and he will be able to reach out to independents and moderate Democrats.”