Sunday, December 10, 2006

Reelecting Cold Hard Cash Jefferson

In a runoff election, William Jefferson (D-LA), has won reelection to Congress over Karen Carter with a huge margin in very light turnout.
Guilty pleas by aides and associates who admitted to bribing the congressman and the revelation in court documents that FBI agents had found $90,000 in marked bills stuffed into Jefferson's freezer had put the scent of blood in political waters.

A field of a dozen candidates began circling Jefferson in the primary. He
finished first, but with only 30 percent of the vote, inspiring conjecture that his performance amounted to repudiation of an incumbent and that he would surely lose the runoff against state Rep. Karen Carter, D-New Orleans.

Instead, Jefferson, 59, scored a dramatic upset by racking up huge pluralities in African African-dominated precincts in Orleans, and winning outright in Jefferson Parish, where Sheriff Harry Lee had spent his campaign.

The final margin for Jefferson in Jefferson Parish was 71% to 39% - a margin that can be attributed to Sheriff Lee's furious political assault in the closing days of the campaign. Lee not only endorsed to Jefferson, but in the final days, urged Jefferson Parish residents to stay home and not vote. The final tally shows that while 28% of registered voters cast ballots in the primary, only 15% voted Saturday.
71% to 39%? That's 110% - an obvious misprint. The story here is that incumbency provides huge advantages and it doesn't matter how corrupt the politician is. Jefferson was found storing $90,000 in cold cash in his freezer. Federal investigations are racking up plea deals with associates and he's even acknowledged that an indictment is in his own future.

Lots of other folks are chiming in on William Jefferson's reelection. Don Surber calls on Pelosi to drain the bayou. Well, I think it isn't up to her to not seat Jefferson, but it is up to the prosecutors and FBI to make their case and put this guy in jail for corruption - and having $90,000 in marked bills sitting in his freezer.

TPM wonders what the Democrat leadership will do about Jefferson. Let's not forget that there are a couple other Democrats with shady stuff hanging about - Menendez in New Jersey, Mollohan in West Virginia being two others off the top of my head. Their solution is to refuse to seat Jefferson and a Florida GOP representative who won a closely contested election on grounds that both are unfit to serve - though there's no reason to believe that the FL GOP candidate is unfit to serve. The Democrats are simply contesting the election that the GOPer, Vern Buchanan, won although there was an apparent undercount in the vote.

Ed Morrissey disagrees with the idea of refusing to seat Jefferson, but it should refuse to reseat anyone on Jefferson's indictment. That doesn't serve anyone either, and it would actually result in the disenfranchisement of those who are in Jefferson's district. Yes, those folks voted for a crook to office and should live with the consequences of their action. However, it should not come at the price of losing their voice in Congress.

Flap's Blog provides some levity.

Others blogging: Assorted Babble, Hot Air, Sister Toldjah, Michelle Malkin, Jo's Cafe, Iowa Voice, Blogs of War, and Blue Crab Boulevard.

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