Editor's note: Part One of the author's two-part interview with Yu can be accessed here, and Part Two can be found here.
Eugene Yu was a teenager when he moved from South Korea with his parents to start a new life in Augusta, Ga., more than 40 years ago.
In high school, he worked the graveyard shift at a local factory, and then rushed home to have breakfast before heading off to school.
When school let out he would go to his job as a bag boy at the local grocery story. After graduating from Butler High School, he entered the US Army, where he worked as a military police officer.
Following his discharge from the Army, Yu worked as a fireman and later as a police officer in his hometown.
According to his official biography, Yu owns “Continental Military Services, Inc., which supplies military grade armaments to our allies in the continuing fight against global terrorism.”
Yu is also a consultant for General Purposes Vehicles. This company sells armored vehicles to the South Korean and Egyptian militaries.
Without any previous experience in politics, Yu, a Republican, has entered the Primary battle royal to see who will take on a slim Democratic field featuring political newcomers Michelle Nunn, Branko “Dr. Rad” Radulovacki, Todd Robinson and former state Sen. Steen Miles.
The crowded Republican field includes three members presently serving in the House of Representatives, Rep. Paul Broun, Rep. Jack Kingston and Rep. Phil Gingrey. Also waging battle in the GOP primary is former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel and political newcomers Derrick Grayson and David Perdue, a relative of Sonny Perdue, the state’s first Republican government in modern times.
Yu wasted no time going on the attack. In December he spent money on television advertising to call out the three congressmen in the field for what he calls “a poor voting record.”
Yu blasted Broun, Kingston and Gingrey for having poorer voting records than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid who seldom misses a vote. Reid has only missed 1.1 percent of the roll call votes on the floor of the Senate.
None of the three Republican congressmen can come anywhere close to Reid’s voting record. Nor anywhere close to Saxby Chambliss whose seat they are vying to hold. Chambliss missed 3.8 percent of the roll call votes.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution did a fact check of Yu’s claim and found it to be true. The AJC found that Broun missed more than 80 percent of the hearings on the Subcommittee on Borders and Maritime Security at the same time he was promoting himself as a strong proponent of immigration issues.
This first-time candidate has two unique slogans: “Vote for Yu for You” and “Washington needs a Yu Turn!”
The re-election of President Obama stirred Yu to enter the race. He said that he “will work to abolish Obamacare.”
However, Yu may face a similar problem that most other minorities have faced when seeking to represent the GOP in government: the problem of having to prove they are authentic Americans.
Orlin M. Hardy brought this point to the forefront in his letter to the editor in the AJC when they ran a story about Yu’s run for senate.
“I’m retired military,” Hardy wrote, “served in WW2, Korea and during NAM. [I] would like to hear more about your background in the political area. How about local government, city, state, or county? You are about to enter an uneven playing field. It is very easy to become tainted when you swim in colored water. The old timers will want to help you. Suddenly you are faced with an identity crisis whom do YU trust. Talk to your soon to be constituents. Find out what ‘they’ want, and then you will have a place to start. [I] am anxiously waiting to hear you speak so we can ascertain if you have ‘love of country.’”
If Mr. Hardy, of Norcross, Ga. is typical of the average Republican voter, Eugene Yu will have to convince his party to make a Yu turn towards acceptance of minorities before Yu can direct a “Yu Turn” in Washington.
Harold Michael Harvey, JD, is the author of the legal thriller “Paper Puzzle,” available at Amazon.