Oregon House candidate receives letter with racial slur

PORTLAND, Ore. (KATU/CNN) – A candidate running for a spot in the Oregon House says he received a racist note in the mail telling him to go back to his country.

It’s the final stretch for Justin Hwang, the Republican candidate for Oregon’s 49th District.

He spent part of Sunday talking with voters, canvassing neighborhoods.

He sent letters to houses with “no soliciting” signs “Because I didn’t want to bother them,” Hwang explained.

But about 10:00 Friday morning, he said got one of those letters back. “It says, ‘You will never get my vote, [expletive.] Go to your country and run for office.’” That expletive was a racial slur directed toward a Chinese person. Hwang isn’t even Chinese. He immigrated here from Korea and started a restaurant chain.

“My English is not perfect,” Hwang said. “I understand. It is not right, people calling each other with all this racial slur.”

He says he’s running for office to give back and be role model for other immigrants. But seeing this note, Hwang said, “I wasn’t really angry about it. I was very much sad because this needs to go away in our community.”

Hwang’s Democratic opponent, State Representative Chris Gorsek, sent KATU a statement saying. “I am saddened and appalled that anyone would think to do something like this. It does not reflect my beliefs or those of the volunteers and staff working on my campaign. I have taught against such behavior in my college classes for years and believe that everyone should be treated with dignity and respect and I am sorry that Justin has been exposed to this terrible expression of hate.”

Hwang said he hopes to meet the person who sent him this note so he can change their mind. “We are from many different places, but I want to let him know that we are all one.”

Hwang says he hasn’t been called that slur since middle school or high school.

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