LaFonta Makes Bid Against Cao Official

Posted November 24, 2009 at 12:57pm

Louisiana state Rep. Juan LaFonta (D) on Tuesday officially kicked off his 2nd district Congressional bid in New Orleans by criticizing Republican Rep. Anh Joseph Cao for “his indifference to the people of New Orleans.”

LaFonta charged that Cao failed his constituents when he voted against the economic stimulus bill earlier this year.

“No reasonable person can look at the boarded up buildings, the devastated neighborhoods, the lack of housing and health care, the struggles of everyday people and say we have recovered,” LaFonta said. “New Orleans needed the stimulus package. In other parts of America, perhaps there could be an argument made that the stimulus wasn’t needed but you can’t make that argument about the 2nd District of Louisiana.”

The majority black 2nd district is at the top of Democrats’ target list next year not just because it was the only district in the state to choose Barack Obama over Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the 2008 presidential race, but because it did so by a 52-point margin. Cao, who is the first Vietnamese-American Member of Congress, won the district in an unusual December general election that saw extremely low turnout.

LaFonta, who has served in the state House since 2005, began openly discussing his interest in the Congressional over the summer and he filed his statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission in late September.

LaFonta will face fellow state Rep. Cedric Richmond in the Democratic primary. Richmond came in third in a seven-candidate primary in 2008.