Republicans use fear of crime as a wedge issue in Washington’s 8th
It’s the week before election day, and Audrey Muliawan and her 5-year-old son are headed into Issaquah's red brick city hall in the heart of Washington’s 8th Congressional District.
Muliawan, who said she’s “Asian Pacific Islander,” moved with her family to the area from Seattle in 2019. Muliawan said they wanted to escape a rising crime rate – a problem she believes has only worsened since then.
“The Seattle area definitely has a lack of police. If I’m going there now, I feel like I have to be a little bit more aware,” she said.
It’s just the sort of personal story that Republicans believe could help them flip Washington’s 8th District and take back control of the U.S. House this year.
Republicans are using crime as a wedge issue to attract voters in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community who live in 8th Congressional District.
Earlier this year, the Republican National Committee opened its first Asian Pacific American Community Center in Washington state in Issaquah, and crime was the focus of a public candidate outreach event at the center this fall.
In attendance at that event was Republican Matt Larkin, who is running against the 8th’s incumbent, Democrat Kim Schrier.
Larkin has made crime his signature issue. His campaign slogan dating back to the primary is “Make Crime Illegal Again.” One of Larkin’s attack ads (he approves this message) against Schrier features a fiery urban hellscape of criminality, scored with what sounds like a horror movie soundtrack.