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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Louisiana Voters Dump William Jefferson

(Anh "Joseph" Quang Cao, 41)

Democratic Representative William Jefferson lost his re-election bid in Louisiana to Republican Anh "Joseph" Cao.

Jefferson has been indicted on 16 criminal counts of racketeering, bribery, money laundering and obstruction of justice, to which he has denied and pleaded not guilty.

Those charges stem from a raid upon his homes in 2005 by the FBI where they found $90,000 in cash in his freezer. The indictment itself was handed down in 2007.

Officials say the money was part of a payment in marked bills from an FBI informant in a transaction captured on videotape. Jefferson also is accused of soliciting and receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes for himself and his family in exchange for promoting their products and services to countries in Africa.

Cao is the first Vietnamese-American to be elected to Congress.

According to CNN, Republican John Fleming also beat out Democrat Paul Carmouche in Louisiana's 4th District.

From NYT:

Representative William J. Jefferson was defeated by a little-known Republican lawyer here Saturday in a late-running Congressional election, underscoring the sharp demographic shifts in this city since Hurricane Katrina and handing Republicans an unexpected victory in a district that had been solidly Democratic.

The upset victory by the lawyer, Anh Cao, was thought by analysts to be the result of a strong turnout by white voters angered over federal corruption charges against Mr. Jefferson, a black Democrat who was counting on a loyal base to return him to Congress for a 10th term.

Jefferson should have been booted by the Democrats three years ago and since they did not clean up their own house, the voters did it for them.

Cao is a moderate Republican, pro-life but also has a worrisome stance on immigration, but the Democratic district Jefferson represented seems to prefer a moderate Republican to a crooked Democrat.

Good for the voters.

More about Cao here.