Jefferson Upset in Louisiana Stunner

Posted December 6, 2008 at 10:52pm

Updated: 11:59 p.m. The last Congressional race of the 2008 election cycle produced the biggest upset Saturday, as Republican Anh Joseph Cao moved Louisiana’s overwhelmingly Democratic 2nd district into the GOP column with his stunning defeat of nine-term Rep. William Jefferson (D). With 100 percent of the precincts reporting late Saturday, the Associated Press declared Cao the winner with 50 percent to Jefferson’s 47 percent. Cao’s victory in the New Orleans-based district that was drawn to give Democrats the advantage can be traced directly to the legal troubles that have plagued Jefferson since the 2006 cycle. The embattled Congressman has been fighting a federal indictment for multiple corruption and bribery charges, and before it was postponed his trial was scheduled to begin earlier this week. “Joseph Cao represents a new era in Louisiana — one in which voters continue to reject the politics of corruption,” said outgoing National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) in a statement. Cao’s victory over Jefferson, who is black, in a district that is 64 percent African-American, will surely make him the top target of state and national Democrats in the 2010 cycle. Even though Cao’s victory represents a loss of a seat for Congressional Democrats, chances are that many House leaders will not be sorry to see the Congressman go, given the corruption scandals that have been swirling around him.