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December 07, 2008 08:14 AM UTC

Good Riddance, William Jefferson!

  • by: TakeBackTheHouse

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

It looks like the voters of Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District have taken a D+28 seat and handed it to the Republicans. Good.

Jefferson was an embarrassment to the Democratic Party, and misused his office in the most literal of ways. When the FBI tried to raid his office to gather evidence, he tried to hide behind the separation of powers to keep himself above the law. Well, he is going to have to go back to using his home freezer to hide evidence again.

As a passionately loyal Democrat, I can only applaud his loss tonight. I care about my party too much to want someone like him as its representative. Hopefully we can return in two years and take back the seat, but until then, I welcome the Republican victory.

Wikipedia tells the story:

The investigation began in mid-2005, after an investor alleged $400,000 in bribes were paid through a company maintained in the name of his spouse and children. The money came from a tech company named iGate, Inc. of Louisville, Kentucky, and in return, it is alleged, Jefferson would help iGate’s business. Jefferson was to persuade the U.S. Army to test iGate’s broadband two-way technology and other iGate products; use his efforts to influence high-ranking officials in Nigeria, Ghana, and Cameroon; and meet with personnel of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, in order to facilitate potential financing for iGate business deals in those countries.

On 30 July 2005, Jefferson was videotaped by the FBI receiving $100,000 worth of $100 bills in a leather briefcase at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Arlington, Virginia.[8] Jefferson told an investor, Lori Mody, who was wearing a wire, that he would need to give Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar $500,000 “as a motivating factor” to make sure they obtained contracts for iGate and Mody’s company in Nigeria.

A few days later, on 3 August 2005, FBI agents raided Jefferson’s home in Northeast Washington and, as noted in an 83-page affidavit filed to support a subsequent raid on his Congressional office, “found $90,000 of the cash in the freezer, in $10,000 increments wrapped in aluminum foil and stuffed inside frozen-food containers.” Serial numbers found on the currency in the freezer matched serial numbers of funds given by the FBI to their informant.


33 thoughts on “Good Riddance, William Jefferson!

  1. …I 100% agree.  He was a corrupt politician that needed to be ejected.  One way or another.  Kudos to the voters of New Orleans and the rest of LA-02 for getting rid of this scumbag.  

      1. is pretty simple although not very PC. His district is majority black, so they voted for the black incumbent.

        I wish that the party, somewhere along the heirarchy, would have pushed him out.  That would have also showed the world that most Dems would rather not have corruption in the ranks.  But this removal from office will at least put the matter to rest, insofar as Congress is concerned.

        Fortunately the House still has a healthy majority of Dems.  

        1. I too would have prefered that the party had kicked him out and that some of the African-American Congressional leadership had gone down there and campaigned for his opponents.

          With that said, the final place this decision is rendered is by the voters as it should be. Congrats to the large number of Democratic voters who crossed over to vote for not-Jefferson.

    1. And being acquainted with several Vietnamese-American Republicans, the ones I know are old fashioned, strong defense (and still believe we should have stuck it out in Vietnam), pro-business types, not hard social conservative right types so am guessing that the winner, Republican Anh “Joseph” Cao, may be more former than latter.  

              1. There isn’t a single district in the country that’s as Republican as LA-02 is Democratic.  I think one of the Utah districts is R+26.

                The chances of a Republican holding the district for more than one term are slim.

                1. UT-02 is the most Republican district in the country at R+26. The most heavily Republican district held by a Dem is ID-01, with Rep-elect Walt Minnick.

                  In the current Congress, the most heavily Democratic district other than this one held by a Republican is Delaware’s At-Large seat, with former Governor Mike Castle. That was D+6 before the election.

                  Just for comparison’s sake, this district is at least 10 points more Democratic than CO-01.  

                  1. I could see your point.  But the circumstances that Cao was able to capitalize on this time could easily replicate themselves again.

                    Since election day in LA is really a primary day, a multiple candidate field on the Dem side would send the race to a runoff.  With huge changes in demographics experienced by the district, a low voter turnout could creat another opportunity for Cao to win.  Couple that with an interesting story, a national fundraising base (Vietnamese immigrants, big money donor who would love to stick it to the Dems by keeping such a Dem seat), and assuming he votes more with his district then not, he could keep the seat.

                    Also, keep in mind that the D+28 is a 2004 number-before Hurricane Katrina which displaced N.O. voters to other areas of the state.  Who knows what the D+ number is now…

                    1. Here’s what I’ve been able to gather.  The old run-off system is gone.  A candidate no longer needs to get 50% of the vote on election day to win.

                      But if there is more then one person running for a party’s nomination, that primary occurs on everyone else’s election day.

                      Jefferson was challenged in his primary, and he beat his opponent 57-43%.  If he hadn’t had a primary opponent, he would have ran against Cao on election day.

                      Hence my theory that if two or more Democrats run for the party’s nomination, we have the same senario again.

                      If Cao wins another term, he’s going to enjoy John Thune like stature in the House.  

                    2. The primary Jefferson won on “everyone else’s election day” was actually a runoff itself.

                      The Dem Primary was Oct 4th and Jefferson won, but w/ only 25% against Helena Moreno’s 20%.   Then he beat her heads-up on Nov. 4th 57-43.

                      Anyway, assuming there’s a Dem primary in 2 years and a runoff, election day will be in Dec again and  low turnout will definitely help Cao.

                    3. Here’s the relevant page at the Louisiana SoS website.

                      For US House and Senate races only, there is now a closed primary system.  The first primary takes place earlier in the year when the Presidential primary is run.  A second primary race is run on Election Day if no candidate gets a majority of the vote during the first primary; this happened in LA-02 this year.  The general election for the seat is then held one month later on a Saturday if there was a second primary.

                      So Jefferson had to run in a runoff, and won that runoff.  He, as the corrupt candidate, then had to face off against Cao on the 6th.

                      Unless the same type of scenario unfolds in 2010 (i.e. a corrupt Dem vs. Cao), I don’t see a repeat.

                    4. I just didn’t phrase it well.  

                      My point is that Cao will have a chance in 2 years if, and only if, the election comes in Dec.  With a Dec. election comes lower turnout and with lower turnout comes more white voters and less black ones.  That would help him even though winning would still be a long shot at best.  To get that he needs a crowded Dem primary, a runoff in Nov. and another Dec. runoff.

                      Cao winning again isn’t likely, but that’s his best shot, no?

                    5. I think we’re all on the same page now.  The question is, how many Democrats make a run at the seat.

                      My guess is: a lot.  It’s the chance of having a seat for a lifetime (barring massive amounts of federally marked bills being found in your freezer).

                      Cao winning once is pretty awesome in and of itself.  If he wins a second term, it’s going to be even better.

                      This is what I view as more likely though:  Cao runs again and goes down in defeat.  The 2010 census is completed and a since N.O. has lost so much population, a part of the city is drawn into another district that oddly enough doesn’t have an incumbent, but oddly enough Cao lives in…

                      Second senario is that he finds something else to run for in two years to avoid defeat (Vitter’s seat?  Lt. Gov?  Attorney General? All could be possibilities).

                    6. considering all the folks that ran for Mayor (of NOLA) and Jefferson’s seat in the past, I seen no reason there won’t be a hoard running in 2010.

                      It’ll be really interesting if Mitch Landrieu decides to run.  Maybe (termed out) Mayor Ray Nagin throws his hat in the ring.  Former Mayor Marc Morial could run.  Chances are someone from that group will challenge Vitter…but still, it should be fun.  🙂

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