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Bill Jefferson Loses

Scandal-tarred Louisiana Democratic Rep. Bill Jefferson was defeated in his bid for a tenth term tonight by a little known Republican named Joseph Cao.

With 80 percent of precincts reporting, Cao led Jefferson 53 percent to 43 percent and the Associated Press had called the race for the Republican. The 2nd district heavily favors Democrats; Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) won 75 percent of the vote in it in 2004.

Anh 'Joseph' Cao
Anh 'Joseph' Cao, during an interview at his election night victory party, Dec. 6, 2008. (AP Photo/St. Petersburg Times, John Pendygraft)

In 2007, Jefferson was indicted on 16 counts relating to allegations that he had accepted bribes from companies hoping to secure contracts in Africa. Jefferson insisted he had done nothing wrong.

The primary election in Louisiana -- held on Nov. 4 -- gave Jefferson a 57 percent to 43 percent margin, a sign, many believed, that his ongoing legal problems would not impact his electoral success.

Tonight's results affirm that conventional wisdom regarding Jefferson was dead wrong.

In the open seat 4th district, where both national parties had spent considerable money, physician John Fleming(R) holds a 356-vote lead over Caddo Parish District Attorney Paul Carmouche (D) with 100 percent of precincts reporting. The AP has not called the race for Fleming, however.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 6, 2008; 11:28 PM ET
Categories:  Democratic Party , House  
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the poster child of Lib values.

tut tut

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 8, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I think, deep down, the GOP is sorry to see Jefferson go -- when keeping score in the Corrupt Congressman Game, he was the only thing saving them from the shutout. Now they won't have him to use as a baseball bat against the Dems.

Even as an unabashed liberal, I contributed to Cao's campaign because I wanted Jefferson GONE. I wonder if any of the wingers gave money to Begich's campaign in Alaska in order to get rid of crooked Uncle Ted. I'm guessing not. The Right would rather talk than act.

Probably just as well, considering how disastrously things go when they DO act.....

Posted by: WaitingForGodot | December 8, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

"This is why the Repug party is in such dire straits right now. They refuse to operate on facts, even when they are staring them right in the face." Posted by: PeixeGato

There is actually some scientific evidence that people with right-wing views are less flexible in their beliefs because of their neural architecture. So they may be physically incapable of facing the facts. Interestingly enough, this might also explain the correlation between increasing conservatism and increasing age. It has been shown the neural plasticity declines with age.

Posted by: zosima | December 8, 2008 6:20 AM | Report abuse

Louisiana has for years been willing to elect "progressive" people.

Jindal is the latest example of this.

Only problem is, they are usually overwhelmed by the state's various political machines.

This election was won on the basis of one simple fact: white turnout was 26 percent, as opposed to black turnout of 11 percent. This was white anger at the rest of the (yes, black) populace for putting Jefferson in the runoff, despite a number of reputable challengers in the Democratic primary (most of whom were also black, one- the second place finisher- was of Hispanic descent).

I for one am pleased that Cao was elected (I live in Orleans Parish but outside of his district). However, his lack of experience and stunning lack of any real policy views (another story quoted him as saying that the only firm position he holds is that abortion should be illegal) make me question how effective he will be.

Yet another reformer elected from here. Let's see how long he lasts.

Posted by: ANewOrleanian | December 8, 2008 1:17 AM | Report abuse

By the way, Cao is the first Vietnamese American to get elected to Congress. So by getting rid of the black guy, we actually got a little more diverse.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 7, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, this is very good news. I really doubt Cao will win a second term. This was a referendum on Jefferson, not Democrats. The fourth district is heavily Republican which makes the close election surprising.

If you look at a county by county map, there is a small strip of the US that has gone redder since 2004. Louisiana is right in the middle of that strip. Still, I wouldn't make too much of these election results.

By the way, Virgil Goode lost in Virginia. Remember him? The guy who warned against Muslims taking over congress. He'll probably challenge the election that he lost by a quarter percent.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 7, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and just how many times has your beloved Bush faced the American people to answer questions? I think Barack has had more press conferences as President-elect in the last 2 weeks than Bush had in the last 4 years.

Posted by: PeixeGato | December 7, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

newagent99 said: "Why didn't Democrats in Congress demand Jefferson resign his seat long before??"

the same reason they didnn't allow questions about obama

it's Racist to question anyone who isn't female or white

This has got to be the dumbest thing I've ever heard. You are living in a world completely devoid of any facts. First of all, the Dems did demand that Jefferson resign his seat. Jefferson refused. See the post by SeanC1 if you need an explanation (of course, that would require you deal with a set of facts, so I don't hold out much hope).

Second of all, please provide us with ONE instance when "they" (whomever that is) didn't allow questions to be asked of Obama. And who is this "they" that you are referring to?

This is why the Repug party is in such dire straits right now. They refuse to operate on facts, even when they are staring them right in the face.

I hope Cao enjoys his time in Washington as he will most certainly lose in 2010 once the Dems are able to get behind a good candidate who is worthy of representing the people (that was a shot at Jefferson, NOT Cao).

Posted by: PeixeGato | December 7, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Judy, I think Norman Mineta, TPSec under Clinton and Bush, is a J-A.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 7, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

"Why didn't Democrats in Congress
demand Jefferson resign his seat long before??"

the same reason they didnn't allow questions about obama

it's Racist to question anyone who isn't female or white

Posted by: newagent99 | December 7, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Why didn't Democrats in Congress
demand Jefferson resign his seat long before??
And why is this not headline news like a Republican defeat of this sort would have drawn??
As a Vietnam Vet I am pleased that Cao was elected! A Republican!!
Posted by: jjcrocket | December 7, 2008 1:30 PM
Look, Crock:
You ought to know that LA still lives in the 19th century.
Corruption is so rampant over there that even ordinary people constantly look for their little bit of it.
Also racial bias is high on both sides.
The Democratic leadership in Congress gives a congressman under indictment time to be tried and get a jury decision before they compel overturning the people's will at the ballot box.
If you were any kind of an intelligent student of politics, you would know that.
Had Senator Ted Stephens of Alaska, now convicted of seven felony counts, tried to return to the Senate, even if that was the will of Alaskan voters, the Republican leadership would have been faced with the same issue of throwing him out.
You know that.
The Republicans ran a good man, gave a new minority a chance -- Anh "Joseph" Cho's election is historic and I am so proud of my Cajun kin to step up and elect him.
Cho had no choice in the LA situation but to run as a Republican.
In almost any other area of the country, he would have found his best chance for election in the Democratic party.
LA has also elected Bobby Jindal, also a good man, for governor.
These men are reformers.
They are in there to try to root out the (so far) intransigent corruption which has seeped into all elements of life in that otherwise delightful Southern state.
I'm sitting here watching former Gen. Eric Shinseki, a Japanese-American, being nominated for the Cabinet, as Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
I wonder: is he the first Japanese-American since WWII to be named to such a high post?
CNN reports he's making history today, too.
HOORAY for America!
This Bronze-Star General, also with a disability borne from combat, is a great choice veterans will salute.
And it's about time our veterans got some attention for all their suffering.
The times they are a-changin', Crock.
Get on board and don't be so negative.
-- from a military wife of a 33-year Vietnam veteran.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | December 7, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

"Why didn't Democrats in Congress
demand Jefferson resign his seat long before??"

They did. He refused; after that, they stripped him of his committee assignments and funded a primary challenge against him in 2006. It didn't work, so since then they've basically been ignoring him and waiting for him to go away (had we won here, he'd have been out in a couple of months anyway after he's found guilty).

Posted by: SeanC1 | December 7, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Why didn't Democrats in Congress
demand Jefferson resign his seat long before??

And why is this not head line news like a Republican defeat of this sort would have drawn??

As a Vietnam Vet I am pleased that Cao was elected! A republican!!

Posted by: jjcrocket | December 7, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations to the voters in Louisiana. Letting values of honest governance mean more than party loyalty is a sign of respect for the law that needs reinforcement. Again, kudos. Rep. Cao runs for reelection again in two years. You can change your representative again then. For now, you have spoken loudly about your own values.

Posted by: edbyronadams | December 7, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Say goodbye to yet another one. What got him? It's always the little things. Why? See

Posted by: jheubusch | December 7, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

BREAKING Video from the Lipman Times (Comprehensive coverage of the Obama Admin.):

Hillary is back on SNL...and Bill is With Her! From last night:

Posted by: caraprado1 | December 7, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

What's happening in Louisiana? First the democratic governor is replaced, now William Jefferson, D-La., is ousted. Now if only the good folks of New Orleans give Ray "Schoolbus" Nagin the boot, maybe there's a chance the Big Easy will finally recover! Whatever happened to Jefferson's magic refrigerator that converted ice cubes into hundred dollar bills?

Posted by: nmg3rln | December 7, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I am very glad to see this. However, a Republican winning here means nothing more than that black Democrats eventually grew tired of going out to vote for this crook, particularly in a runoff. Nothing more. He still managed 10 terms, and weren't one or more wins after his indictment? Not a Republican thing. Harvard Law, too. The greed of Washington and New York met New Orleans corruption. It was inevitable. Louisiana deserves better. Edwin Edwards set the bar. At the lowest possible rung.

Posted by: wpfree | December 7, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I believe in the presumption of innocence as bedrock to the criminal justice system. I do not believe that voters should be bound by that presumption. That Stevens and Jefferson were able to receive more than 40% of the vote may actually give rise to the invidious inference that voters should be presumed uninformed until proven otherwise.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 7, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Good riddance to bad rubbish; congratulations to Mr. Cao, though he should enjoy his one term, because the prospects aren't looking too bright beyond 2010.

"Well, I for one am SCARED! It seems our beloved President Elect Obama lacks coattails. Are the R's coming back to retake power??? Help!"

Presidents are generally not expected to have coattails when they aren't on the ballot. In two of these cases, the votes were in heavily Republican areas; in the third, Jefferson lost because he was corrupt. Nothing to do with the national Democratic Party or the President-elect. As for Republicans coming back to take power, I think not. The results of 2010 will hang on what the Democrats in government do over the next two years.

Posted by: SeanC1 | December 7, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

And good riddance to that piece of corrupt trash, "Dollar Bill" Jefferson.

Now, New Yorkers need to kick Charlie Rangel to the curb, because Pelosi obviously isn't going to do it. She has no problem with a tax cheat chairing the House committee with jurisdiction over taxes!

Posted by: WashingtonDame | December 7, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

It's about time La voted this crook out. I also think this is good news for the GOP because a lot of voters are getting very nervous about Obama and the dems having control of all three branches of the government and I think a lot more republicans will win in two years.

Posted by: sque1 | December 7, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Armpeg, just because someone is or votes Democratic does not make them a socialist. Suggest you go to a dictionary or online and look up a definition of socialist.

A socialist is one who advocates state control of production and distribution. If you want to carry your post to its illogical conclusion then Social Security, Medicare, Public Education, the Highway Trust Fund and a lot more are "socialistic" which is pure bunk.

There is definately hope when the citizens of Louisiana elect someone like Bobby Jindal and now throw Jefferson out of office. Everyone wants a new start and few people deserve it more than the people of Louisiana. This a lone bright spot in my former party, the GOP, that has degenerated into regional irrelevence. Perhaps the far too many "Senator Cleghorn" types that still control the party will take note, but I doubt it. The Whigs went into the dustbin and the GOP is capable of doing the same.

Posted by: NotBubba | December 7, 2008 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Looks like the American People really were serious about wanting "Change" from the old ways of politics. Hopefully we can continue to eliminate the manipulative and corrupt people who are or have been abusing their office. Hopefully, they will now understand that it is a "privilege" for them to be elected into office, and maybe they will value our votes, hear our voices, do away with all the selfish and greedy behavior and do what we put them in office to do.

That means, represent and support us and our country with decent morals and ethics, wisdom, honor, loyalty, integrity and outstanding character. We need to get back to holding them to the highest standards of an American Citizen, and holding them accountable for their actions. We also need to show our appreciation to them from time to time, on their efforts and accomplishments.

We are going to make things right again and become even better than we have ever been as a Nation....... it's just going to take some time and everyone working together. I'm Hopeful!!!!

Posted by: dotti1957 | December 7, 2008 7:31 AM | Report abuse

hehe, it doesn't matter. this guy is a criminal. if he were actually helping an investigation...they wouldn't press charges on him for his assistance. this also isn't surprising. it's louisiana. we're used to his type. although, typically our dirty politicians have better hiding spots than their freezers.

Posted by: BigNick1 | December 7, 2008 6:11 AM | Report abuse

all thats needed to close this story is to convict him and put him away for a lone time...

Posted by: DwightCollins | December 7, 2008 5:48 AM | Report abuse

Democratic Socialist Louisiana Rep. William J. Jeffersons defeat to an unknown Republican is truely amazing, because the Democrat Socialists always circle the wagons when one of their guys gets in trouble ethically or criminally. Unlike the Republicans who stop all support for a Jefferson-like crook, the Democrat Socialists (in collution with the Democrat Party--controlled MSM) always support their crooks no matter what. When Alaska Republican Ted Stevens for instance was accused of, and then convicted of corruption charges, several Republicans including John McCain announced that their contributions would go to charity instead. Compare that to what the Democrat Socialists and their PAC's did during William Jeffersons re-election campaign, despite the FBI's sting operation that found, among many other criminal dealings, $90,000 in his freezer and was videotaped taking $100,000 from an FBI informant. William J. Jefferson received $14,000 from Secure PAC, the leadership committee headed by Mississippi Democrat Socialist Rep. Bennie Thompson, who is also Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security (Mr. Thompson also gave Jefferson $2,300 through a separate re-election fund). According to FEC records he (Jefferson) received two contributions totalling $10,000 from the Bridge PAC, South Carolina Democrat Socialist Rep. James E. Clyburn's leadership committee; $5,000 from N.Y. (D) Rep. Charles B. Rangel; $1,000 from Cal. (D) Rep. Diane Watson; $2,000 from N.J. (D) Rep. Donald M. Payne; $2,000 from Fl. Rep. (D) Kendrick B. Meek; $10,000 from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers PAC; $10,000 from the Congressional Black Caucus PAC, and $5,000 from the Communication Workers of America PAC. What's truly amazing about all this, is that with all that support and Democrat Socialist money comming into Jeffersons re-election campaign, most Louisianans actually voted for a Republican unknown and actually booted out Jefferson. Whoda thought. Things are truly looking up when even the usually Democrat Socialist voters of Louisiana kick out an entrenched crook like Jefferson, instead of just re-electing him, as the Democrat Socialist voters have always done.

Posted by: armpeg | December 7, 2008 4:19 AM | Report abuse

As the ONLY major political party left in the United States, we Democrats are glad to be rid of his foul stench.

As the only nationwide political party, we must lead by example.

Otherwise we will be reduced to "regional party status" of the former Grand Old Party.

Posted by: bobnsri | December 7, 2008 3:14 AM | Report abuse

Chris, you're slackin' and out of date, using 2004 presidential numbers to demonstrate the political climate of a district. Use 2008 numbers baby!

Posted by: jndesant | December 7, 2008 2:56 AM | Report abuse

I love the Republicans that are claiming that they have momentum now. HAHA. So within a month of Obama destroying McCain its over? HAHA no way. Chambliss won a seat that he should of won election night by 10-15 points. The fact that he had to go into a runoff against an out of work state rep tells you how weak he was. Then the dirtiest congressman left loses... him I wonder how? Do you think the 75% Dem district switched against Obama? Yeah right, maybe they got sick of a corrupt politician. And the Dems are going to win the LA-04. Watch provisional ballots push Carmouche ahead by 200 votes. So yes you republican trolls are ridiculous. Quit confusing your hopes with reality.

Posted by: Kman23 | December 7, 2008 2:44 AM | Report abuse







Posted by: scrivener50 | December 7, 2008 1:59 AM | Report abuse

Dems 0 for 3 since Little Barry's ascendancy.

Gotta love that pendulum.

Posted by: zjr78xva | December 7, 2008 1:27 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm. Repubs win all election (Chambliss in Georgia and these two) since November 4, but I'm sure this is just a coincidence. Isn't it? Nothing to be alarmed about here folks, move along now...
Well, I for one am SCARED! It seems our beloved President Elect Obama lacks coattails. Are the R's coming back to retake power??? Help!

Posted by: DorothyfromColumbus | December 7, 2008 1:05 AM | Report abuse

The CONgressman needed to go, and to take his corrupt self to prison!

Posted by: KYJurisDoctor | December 7, 2008 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Who' Cares! That the constant reporting on Fow news on OJ who cares

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | December 7, 2008 12:01 AM | Report abuse

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