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Updated Oct. 14, 2010
Cao's New Orleans-based district continues to be Democrats' top takeover target this fall.
The first Vietnamese-American Member of Congress won the district by fewer than 2,000 votes against scandal-plagued Rep. William Jefferson (D) in an unusual December general election that saw extremely low turnout. But Democrats expect that the majority black district that gave President Barack Obama 75 percent of the vote in 2008 will revert back to their column this cycle.
While Cao has worked to portray himself as an independent who looks out for the interests of New Orleans over his party, Democrats point out that Cao has voted with Republicans more than 80 percent of the time and has tried to block Democratic priorities, including the stimulus and health care bills.
Cao faces state Rep. Cedric Richmond. Richmond has received several endorsements from top state and national Democratic party leaders, but none more important than Obama's, which came in September. Obama's decision to step into the race is particularly important because Cao has tried to cultivate the image that he has a good working relationship with the White House.
Recent polling from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee showed Richmond with a double-digit lead.
District Profile from Politics in America
New Orleans' population had already declined from its 1960 peak, but drastic population loss after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 devastated the below-sea-level city has left fewer than 350,000 residents. The black-majority district as a whole had the largest population loss of any district in the nation since 2000 and is now the least-populous district ahead of decennial remapping.
The economy was fueled for years by post-hurricane construction and infrastructure redevelopment as locals attempted to restore the buildings and character of the "Big Easy." The 9th Ward, Gentilly and other low-lying areas have yet to see full recovery, but higher-ground areas like the French Quarter and Uptown escaped most of the water. Famed for its food and jazz, the city still draws tourists to iconic events such as Mardi Gras and the Jazz & Heritage Festival.
The shipbuilding and petroleum sectors have held steady recently, and the port's cargo and cruise facilities have seen bursts of activity. But thousands of jobs may disappear when Huntington Ingalls Industries closes its Avondale Shipyard in 2013.
Republicans' one-term U.S. House victory in 2008 was merely a blip as the district retains a strongly Democratic tilt. The 2nd was the only district in the state won by Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election, and he took 75 percent of the district's vote.
Shipping, oil and gas, tourism, shipbuilding
Naval Support Activity New Orleans, 1,073 military, 371 civilian (2011)
New Orleans (pt.), 312,828; Marrero (unincorporated) (pt.), 32,706
The National Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor hosts a statue of the state's patron saint, who hears prayers in times of disaster.
|2010||general||Cedric Richmond (D)||83,705||64.6%|
|Anh Cao (R)||43,378||33.5%|
|Anthony Marquize (NPA)||1,876||1.4%|
|Jack Radosta (NPA)||645||0.5%|
|2008||general||Anh Cao (R)||33,132||49.5%|
|William Jefferson (D)||31,318||46.8%|
|Malik Rahim (GREEN)||1,883||2.8%|
|Gregory Kahn (LIBERT)||549||0.8%|
|2006||general runoff||William Jefferson (D)||35,153||56.5%|
|Karen Carter (D)||27,011||43.4%|
|2006||general||William Jefferson (D)||28,283||30.1%|
|Karen Carter (D)||20,364||21.7%|
|Derrick Shephard (D)||16,799||17.9%|
|Joseph Lavigne (R)||12,511||13.3%|
|Troy Carter (D)||11,304||12%|
|Eric Bradley (R)||1,159||1.2%|
|Regina Bartholomew (D)||1,125||1.2%|
|John Edwards (D)||675||0.7%|
|Scott Barron (D)||621||0.7%|
|Gregory Kahn (LIBERT)||404||0.4%|
|M.V. Mendoza (D)||402||0.4%|
|Lawrence von Uhde (R)||258||0.3%|
|Deven Collins (D)||121||0.1%|
|2004||general||William Jefferson (D)||173,510||79%|
|Arthur Schwertz (R)||46,097||21%|
|2002||general||William Jefferson (D)||90,310||63.5%|
|Irma Dixon (D)||28,480||20%|
|Silky Sullivan (R)||15,440||10.9%|
|Clarence Hunt (D)||4,137||2.9%|
|Wayne Clement (I)||3,789||2.7%|
|2008||Barack Obama: 75%||John McCain: 23%|
|2004||John Kerry: 75%||George W. Bush: 24%|
|2000||Al Gore: 76%||George W. Bush: 22%|