New Orleans awoke this morning to the news announcing Republican control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Unfortunately for the city, and true to its impeccable sense of timing, its citizens chose Democrat Cedric Richmond over the one-term Republican incumbent Joseph Cao.
Cao took the 2nd District seat in 2008 by barely defeating the federally indicted Bill Jefferson in an election delayed by Hurricane Gustav. Popular wisdom at the time attributed Cao’s victory in the overwhelmingly Democratic district to exceptionally low turnout.
In any event, Richmond’s election in the face of a GOP tidal wave mean that New Orleans will now have a freshman representative in the minority party, thus missing out on possible committee chairs and other perks. This comes at a time when the city is looking for more help with rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill.
Cao’s defeat was not unexpected, but, as in 2006, when New Orleans reelected the ineffectual Mayor Ray Nagin, you have to wonder if the city’s residents really consider their best interests in the voting booths.