Texas Sen. John Cornyn, whose campaign has run TV ads in Vietnamese and offers versions of its website in Mandarin and Hindi, called it essential that the GOP start “showing up” before these communities’ distrust of Republicans gets cemented in place.

“That is a trajectory for permanent minority status and we have to do something about it,” said Cornyn, the number-two Republican in the Senate. “I’m astonished to hear what our opponents tell people about Republicans, to some groups, when we’re not there.”

California Rep. Judy Chu, the Democrat who leads the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, said both parties increasingly see Asian Americans as a “margin of victory” population in some especially challenging races. She pointed to the Virginia race pitting Comstock against Democratic Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust as a prime example.

“That race is quite striking, in that they even talk about the Chinese Exclusion Act. That’s pretty specific,” Chu said. “They have been doing mailers in different languages. The candidates have both gone to an Asian-Pacific Islander debate … This is very different from the past.”