"We did feel very neglected," Cao said in a telephone interview yesterday, suggesting that the little financial support that did come in the final week of the campaign "may have hurt us more than anything else. We were running a campaign of reform."Cool news for the GOP.
Cao, 41, ran as a reform-minded conservative against Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.), a nine-term incumbent who won reelection in 2006 despite widespread publicity about the FBI finding $90,000 in his freezer during a 2005 raid on his home. Cao, the first Vietnamese American elected to Congress, plans to take a victory lap through Washington this week.
After fleeing Vietnam as a child, Cao bounced around homes in several states with his sister and a brother before settling with an uncle in Houston. One of eight children, he did not see his mother or father, a former Vietnamese army officer who was imprisoned by Ho Chi Minh's government, until 1991. Cao graduated from Baylor University in 1990 and began studying to become a Jesuit priest. He went on several missions before attending law school in New Orleans.
After graduating in the late 1990s, he started a law practice and volunteered to help other boat refugees from Vietnam. His home and law firm were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, but he rebuilt both, and this summer, he began his seemingly quixotic quest for public office.
A registered independent most of his adult life, the 5-foot-2 Cao paid $900 to the Louisiana secretary of state to file as the only GOP challenger in the 2nd Congressional District to Jefferson, who was indicted on multiple felony counts in 2007 for allegedly taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from contractors looking for his help in securing work in Africa. Cao said his goal was to just send a message to New Orleans officials that everyone had to be held accountable.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
What an amazing story, a man that most of the GOP establishment had never heard of three weeks ago. But newly elected Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao is winner of the 2nd District of Louisiana, held by Rep. William "Freezer" Jefferson.