Crook Jefferson Wins Re-election in Louisiana

William Jefferson has been easily re-elected to Congress despite having a freezer full of bribes.

Louisiana Democratic Rep. William J. Jefferson — burdened by a highly publicized federal investigation into whether he took bribes — nonetheless won Saturday’s runoff election in Louisiana’s 2nd District, and even appears to have defeated Democratic state Rep. Karen Carter by a comfortable margin. Carter conceded defeat at 10:20 p.m. local (Central) time, a little more than two hours after the polls closed in the New Orleans-based district.

Jefferson’s win for a ninth House term was an astonishing act of political survival, though the congressman’s legal situation remains highly tenuous. Carter had rallied support from many national and state Democratic leaders who turned against Jefferson because of his ethics controversies.

With 96 percent of precincts reporting, Jefferson led Carter by 57 percent to 43 percent in the 2nd, a heavily Democratic black-majority district that takes in most of New Orleans and some close-in suburbs.

The late Lewis Grizzard joked years ago about another corrupt Louisiana politician, Governor Edwin Edwards, that it was tough to find 12 people from that state to agree that stealing was a crime. Apparently, that remains true, at least in the 2nd CD.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Race and Politics,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. legion says:

    If moving back to NO after the disasters didn’t tag these people as complete idiots, then putting this criminal back in office (at least until he goes deservedly to jail) surely does.

  2. William says:

    The comments thus far show a great deal of ignorance concerning this election. Reality is a lot more complicated than the simplistic reactions I’m seeing in the press.

    The fact is that many voters perceived it to be a race between a crook (Jefferson) and a radical (Carter). The moderates were edged out in the primary because their votes were split among several candidates.

    If voters were to elect the radical, the power of incumbency would keep her in office for decades to come. On the other hand, if the crook were elected, he might lose office due to criminal conviction, leaving the door open for a race between the radical and a moderate.

    It is a sophisticated political gamble. It is the only (albeit slim) chance of electing a moderate in the near term.

    That’s not my congressional district, but I think voters there made a wise choice all things considered.

  3. legion says:

    If voters were to elect the radical, the power of incumbency would keep her in office for decades to come.

    I would disagree with this assumption, on the simple basis that Jefferson _is_ the incumbent. If he had been turned out, your argument would be shot through.

    On the other hand, if the crook were elected, he might lose office due to criminal conviction, leaving the door open for a race between the radical and a moderate.

    True, but why then wouldn’t the voters be split amongst the same moderates available pre-Jefferson? If they couldn’t unite behind a decent non-crook the first time (or two) around…

    It is a sophisticated political gamble. It is the only (albeit slim) chance of electing a moderate in the near term.

    Which is why I think it unlikely (at best) to reflect reality. That’s not a comment on NO voters specifically, BTW, but on the sophistication of voters in general…

  4. Bandit says:

    That’s not my congressional district, but I think voters there made a wise choice all things considered.

    No doubt Congress needs a cash in the fridge caucus. The great thing about having the Dems back in control is their boundless tolerance for criminals, lunatics and traitors.