Clinton's Asian-American outreach director leaving campaign

(Reuters) - The director of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s Asian American and Pacific Islander outreach efforts is leaving the campaign for a position with the Colorado Democrats, a campaign official said on Saturday.

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to supporters at a campaign rally in West Palm Beach, Florida March 15, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

The departure of Lisa Changadveja comes ahead of Democratic nominating contests in states with the highest proportion of Asian American voters, like Washington later this month and California in June.

“She was an instrumental part of helping build our AAPI program and those efforts will continue with events over the next few weeks,” campaign spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said in an email to Reuters. “The campaign is expected to announce a new Director of AAPI Outreach very soon.”

Changadveja had announced her departure to campaign supporters in an email dated March 18, saying she had “tremendous faith in the campaign’s commitment and ability to continue engaging our community as we move through the rest of the primary and prepare for the general election.”

“I will be leaving Hillary for America as I have recently accepted a new job at the Colorado Democratic Party,” she said in the email, seen by Reuters.

Changadveja did not immediately return requests for comment.

Minority communities have been key voting blocs for the Clinton campaign, helping her rack up wins over Bernie Sanders, the U.S. senator from Vermont who is her main rival for the Democratic nomination to the Nov. 8 presidential election.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders form about 6 percent of the U.S. population, a figure that does not include people of mixed race, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

They make up nearly 15 percent of the population of California, which holds its nominating contest in June, and around 9 percent of the state of Washington, which holds its Democratic caucus on March 26.

Asian Americans have also been among the fastest-growing ethnic groups in the United States, on occasion outstripping the growth in the Latino population, according to the Census.

A study by the University of California, Los Angeles last year found that the Asian-American electorate will double to 12 million voters by 2040.

Changadveja joined the Clinton campaign in September, according to her LinkedIn page. She previously served as the LGBTQ and AAPI director for Ready for Hillary, a Super PAC that supported a Clinton run for the presidency, according to the page.

Editing by Richard Valdmanis, Mary Milliken and Bernard Orr