Lieutenant Commander Jay Chen, an intelligence officer in the United States Navy Reserves and President of the Board of Trustees for Mt. San Antonio Community College, will report raising $362,223 since launching his campaign for California’s 39th Congressional District in late January. Additionally, Chen carries $73,725 from a previous campaign, bringing his first quarter haul to nearly $436,000. The campaign will report $385,000 cash on hand in their April report. Chen, the only declared Democrat, is challenging Republican Young Kim, who won the seat in 2020 with a slim 4109 vote margin.
“I am deeply encouraged by the overwhelming support the community has provided this campaign,” expressed Lt. Commander Jay Chen. “As our country unites to confront the COVID-19 pandemic and the political divisions that have prolonged the crisis, it’s more important than ever that we elect leaders who are beholden to only the people of this district, not party leaders or special interests. It’s why I am so proud that more than 99% of my contributions come from individuals.” said Chen.
Jay Chen launched his campaign on January 27th, and has been met with a groundswell of support and more than 2,500 individual contributions. Chen’s first quarter raise is the most any Democrat in this district has ever fundraised in the first quarter of the cycle, including the former Democratic incumbent. It is also stronger than the first filings of each of the seven candidates who would eventually flip a California seat from red to blue in 2018.
“Since being narrowly elected in a district that overwhelmingly voted for Joe Biden, Representative Young Kim has demonstrated that her priorities do not match the needs of this district,” Chen continued. “The first thing Young Kim did after getting elected, while businesses in the district were shuttering, was fly to Georgia to campaign for her party. In her first few months in office, Kim voted against holding anyone accountable for the attack on our capital and voted against bringing critical funds back to her district to confront the health and economic impacts of COVID 19. She even voted against a bipartisan background check bill in the same month as a mass shooting in her own county. Our fundraising success is a clear signal that people in this district are disappointed with their representation.”
The son of Taiwanese immigrants, Jay attended Hacienda Heights public schools and earned a Navy ROTC scholarship to attend Harvard University. As President of the Hacienda-La Puente School Board, he created innovative programs, including Mandarin language immersion classes, a culinary arts program, and free SAT tutoring. In the United States Navy Reserves, Lieutenant Commander Chen has served honorably from the Korean Peninsula to the Middle East. As part of Operation Inherent Resolve, Jay led an intelligence team that helped bring justice to the extremist terror group ISIS, and played a key role in the military’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Middle East. Dedicated to his community, Jay serves on several local and national boards, including the Los Angeles County Library Commission, Metro Regional Connector Leadership Council, and Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies. Jay and his wife Karen live in Hacienda Heights where they are raising their two boys Lincoln and Carver. He speaks Spanish and Mandarin.