Have you ever heard of Anh “Joseph” Cao (R)? Don’t worry neither have I accept only recently. Never mind that. The people of 2nd Congressional District in Louisiana have and they voted him in office over the embattled, but popular, William Jefferson (D).
When the race was called Cao had 33,122 votes (50%) to Jefferson’s 31,296 (47%). This is a district that is majority black with very little Asian support — less than 3 percent. No Republican has been able to put up much of a fight against Jefferson since the district was basically created for him with two-thirds of it being registered Democrat. At any rate, low voter turnout for Democrats and Jefferson’s legal and ethical problems probably contributed significantly to his loss. Jefferson is scheduled to stand trial in early January on a list of federal bribery and corruption charges.
With Cao’s victory, he becomes the first Vietnamese American in Congress. Cao came to the United States from Saigon when he was eight years old. He has an undergraduate degree in physics, a master’s degree in philosophy and a law degree. His only political record was a failed bid for a state house seat but that did not stop state Republicans from supporting his candidacy such as Governor Jindal and new Congressman Steve Calise.
In the 4th district the race was too close for comfort but the Republican candidate John Fleming edged past Paul Carmouche (D) 44,497 votes (48.07%) to Carmouche’s 44,141 (47.69%). It is expected that Carmouche will demand a recount.
It was an interesting race (as I reported a few days ago) having two opposing conservatives run in a conservative district. One an old school “Southern Democrat,” the other a conservative Republican. In the end, the voters chose the same party they have been sending to Washington to represent them for over 20 years.
Voter turnout again was lacking for the Democrat candidate as was the case with Jefferson in the 2nd district and Jim Martin’s Senate bid in Georgia. Black voters have failed to turn out in the same numbers as they did on November 4 for Obama. This could be from a lack of interest or the lack of urgency to support black candidates (and Democrats) as it has now lost the importance it once had.
If this is a sign against the Democrat incumbency and are the first races for 2010, I like what I see.