In a Times-Picayune opinion piece, columnist James Gill introduces us to State Rep. Cedric Richmond, the Democratic nominee in Louisiana's Second Congressional District. Richmond will square off against freshman incumbent Rep. Joseph Cao (R) in November.
LA-02 is a gerrymandered black-majority district, comprised of Orleans Parish (minus the mostly white enclaves of Uptown and Lakeview) and select precincts of neighboring Jefferson Parish. LA-02 was Bill (In His Freezer!) Jefferson's fiefdom for 20 years, and Richmond was at one time a Jefferson protege. As one of the bluest districts in the country, Democrats regard this seat as a gimme.
While Cao's votes have confounded conservative Republicans at times, he has represented what he sees as the interests of his constituents, and he had done so with an unimpeachable air of integrity and dignity. According to Mr. Gill, it appears that in Cedric Richmond the voters have a clear alternative to Mr. Cao's positive character qualities.
[When Richmond] ran for the New Orleans City Council in 2005 [he] falsified his qualifying papers. The state Supreme Court not only kicked him out of the race, but suspended his law license. ...
It is impossible to imagine, for example, that he [Cao] would ever get in a barroom brawl over a pool table. The news that Richmond had done so in Baton Rouge broke during the primary campaign, without any obvious effect on the outcome, and no doubt state legislators have suffered worse after-hours indignities than that. Still, it is possible we will hear more about that episode in the general election campaign.
It does sometimes happen that upstanding characters find themselves duking it out in a saloon, but upstanding characters, attorneys or not, never put their names to false declarations. That Richmond has done so did not faze any of the Democratic Party's leading lights. U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and DA Leon Cannizzarro are among a slew of officials vouching for him.
So LA-02 will have a choice between a known liar, barroom brawler and Jefferson-trained corruptocrat, and a true American success story, an immigrant who left a Jesuit seminary to pursue law school and a dream of public service. On Nov. 2, we'll see how many of the district's voters can truly look beyond race and party affiliation.
Cross-posted at VladEnBlog.