10-17-2008, 08:29 AM
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Incumbent William Jefferson appeared headed to a runoff in the Democratic primary Saturday, despite his indictment on charges of bribery, money laundering and misusing his office. |
He had about a fourth of the vote and his nearest challenger, former television reporter Helena Moreno, was about 2 percentage points behind with 35 percent of the vote counted.
Mr. Jefferson faced six challengers in the Democratic primary in the congressional district that includes parts of New Orleans. Each argued he or she would do a better job than Mr. Jefferson. His effectiveness in Congress is increasingly at issue after he was stripped of a powerful committee post in December 2006 after charges of involvement in an international bribery scheme.
Instead of campaigning Friday, Mr. Jefferson was in Washington to vote on a $700 billion bailout bill for the financial industry, which he opposes.
"Right now, he's more focused on doing the people's business," campaign spokesman Terry Richards said.
The nine-term congressman was indicted last year on allegations that he took bribes, laundered money and misused his congressional office for business dealings in Africa. His trial is scheduled to begin in December.
The FBI made headlines when agents found $90,000 cash in his home freezer that was part of $100,000 planted with an informant.
Mr. Jefferson, 61, the first black member of Congress from Louisiana since Reconstruction, has denied wrongdoing.
If his lead holds, Mr. Jefferson will move to a Nov. 4 runoff against Ms. Moreno. In the Dec. 6 general election, the Democratic victor will face a little-known Republican in the heavily Democratic district. The primary was scheduled for September but delayed by Hurricane Gustav.
NO! Infact the only place populated by more morons is Washington DC (I'll let cali off the hook this time)