| It seems that the elections never end on election day anymore. There are several recounts afoot and a run-off in Texas. There's also a run-off in Louisiana, where Democratic state Rep. Karen Carter will face off against corrupt U.S. Rep. William Jefferson in LA-02.
This race matters because we need to send a strong message, a message that the Democratic Party won't tolerate corruption on either side of the aisle. Come January, we're finally going to take back the House. But before we do, we need to clean house first. And that's why the Swing State Project, DailyKos and MyDD are officially endorsing Karen Carter in her runoff on Dec. 9th.
Now, if you haven't already heard Bill Jefferson's tale, well, it's a sordid one (PDF). The Department of Justice has accused Jefferson of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, and he is currently the target of an ongoing FBI investigation. One former aide has already plead guilty to conspiracy to bribe a public official - he's now serving eight years in prison. Another associate - a businessman who gave Jefferson $400,000 in a pay-for-play scheme - is also going to jail following a guilty plea. The kicker: Both men named Jefferson in their plea agreements.
But Jefferson's most notorious act - the one you probably heard about - is this:
Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.), the target of a 14-month public corruption probe, was videotaped accepting $100,000 in $100 bills from a Northern Virginia investor who was wearing an FBI wire, according to a search warrant affidavit released yesterday.
A few days later, on Aug. 3, 2005, FBI agents raided Jefferson's home in Northeast Washington and found $90,000 of the cash in the freezer, in $10,000 increments wrapped in aluminum foil and stuffed inside frozen-food containers, the document said.
Jefferson's behavior was so outrageous that the Democratic caucus, in an extremely rare move, stripped him of his committee assignment. And as one New Orleans native put it, "You find $100,000 in your freezer, I ain't voting for you." Seventy percent of the voters in Louisiana's second Congressional district apparently agree, because Jefferson carried just 30% of the vote yesterday.
Fortunately for us, Louisiana's unusual electoral system mandates a run-off between the top two finishers whenever the winner fails to reach 50%. That means we can give Jefferson the boot he so richly deserves by supporting the second-place finisher, Karen Carter.
Carter is a strong candidate - she took 22% in a crowded field, despite getting a very late start and facing a long-time, well-known incumbent who outraised her by more than two-to-one. One sign of her strength is that in a surprise move before the election, the Louisiana Democratic Party endorsed her over Jefferson, marking the first time in memory that the state party failed to endorse an incumbent.
But Carter will still need a lot of help to beat an entrenched incumbent, however corrupt, like Jefferson. To that end, we plan to highlight this race over the course of the next month. We've created a new ActBlue page that we're calling Blue Majority. The goal of this new page is to support and strengthen our new Democratic majorities. And right now, we can start by replacing Bill Jefferson with Karen Carter. Of course, if you live in the district or a nearby area, we strongly encourage you to volunteer for Karen. She'll need every able hand she can get.
So let's finish out this already-awesome election season on a true high note and let's send that message!