Ray Nagin wins again in New Orleans mayoral election (w/ news on Rep. Jefferson scandal)

(Monday AM Note: Please see my new post up about Rep. William Jefferson’s woes here)


I’d like to say this is surprising, but it’s not in light of the racial politicking he utilized as a campaign tactic. Via AP:

NEW ORLEANS – Voters re-elected Mayor Ray Nagin, whose blunt style endeared him to some but outraged others after Hurricane Katrina, giving him four more years to oversee one of the largest rebuilding projects in U.S. history.

“This is a great day for the city of New Orleans. This election is over, and it’s time for this community to start the healing process,” Nagin said Saturday in a joyful victory speech.

“It’s time for us to stop the bickering,” he said. “It’s time for us to stop measuring things in black and white and yellow and Asian. It’s time for us to be one New Orleans.”

Nagin won with 52.3 percent, or 59,460 votes, to Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu’s 47.7 percent, or 54,131 votes. While the vote was split largely along racial lines, Nagin got enough of a crossover in predominantly white districts to make the difference. He also won a slim majority of absentee and fax votes cast by evacuees scattered across the country.

Greg Rigamer, a political and demographic analyst, said on Sunday that about one-fifth of black and white voters crossed over to support Nagin and Landrieu. Black voters, who made up a little more than half of all voters in the primary, had higher turnout, he said.

“The bottom line is we ended up with the mayor who represents the demography of the city,” said Rigamer, who analyzes data from the Secretary of State’s office and other sources.

Deacon at Powerline nails it:

Having witnessed Marion Barry repeatedly elected mayor of Washington, D.C., I can’t say I’m surprised at Nagin’s success. Re-electing an unsuccessful or disgraced mayor apparently can become a source of civic pride, particularly when the racial politics are right.

Others blogging about this: Wizbang, Michelle Malkin, Blog For All

In other Louisiana politics news, the FBI raided Representative William Jefferson’s Capitol Hill Congressional offices last night as part of an ongoing ethics inquiry. Via the NYT:

WASHINGTON, May 20 β€” The F.B.I. raided the Congressional offices of Representative William J. Jefferson, Democrat of Louisiana, on Saturday night as part of a corruption investigation focused on the lawmaker and on a Kentucky businessman who has pleaded guilty to trying to bribe him.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement that the unusual raid on a Congressional office began about 7:15 p.m., when agents entered Mr. Jefferson’s suite of offices in the Rayburn House Office Building, and was being conducted as part of an “ongoing corruption investigation.”

The statement offered no details of what was sought or of how long F.B.I. agents would remain in the building, which is across the street from the Capitol.

An F.B.I. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the continuing criminal investigation, said it was the first time the agency had raided a lawmaker’s office on Capitol Hill.

Stay tuned …

PM Update I: The AP is reporting that there is a tape showing Jefferson accepting $100K from a FBI informant:

A congressman under investigation for bribery was caught on videotape accepting $100,000 in $100 bills from an FBI informant whose conversations with the lawmaker also were recorded, according to a court document released Sunday. Agents later found the cash hidden in his freezer.

At one audiotaped meeting, Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., chuckles about writing in code to keep secret what the government contends was his corrupt role in getting his children a cut of a communications company’s deal for work in Africa.

As Jefferson and the informant passed notes about what percentage the lawmaker’s family might receive, the congressman “began laughing and said, ‘All these damn notes we’re writing to each other as if we’re talking, as if the FBI is watching,'” according to the affidavit.

How much do you want to bet that Democrats in Washington will either a) give statements of tepid condemnation towards the evidence shown in the videotape, b) say Republicans are using Jefferson in an attempt to distract from the Republican “culture of corruption”, and/or c) say he’s being targeted because he’s black?

(Hat tip: Captain Ed)

PM Update II: Back to Nagin — wow … if this is true, I wonder if Howard Dean will be vilified as a racist for supporting a white man over a black man? Via Drudge:

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) secretly placed political operatives in the city of New Orleans to work against the reelection efforts of incumbent Democrat Mayor Ray Nagin, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean made the decision himself to back mayoral candidate and sitting Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu (D-LA), sources reveal.

Dean came to the decision to back the white challenger, over the African-American incumbent Nagin, despite concerns amongst senior black officials in the Party that the DNC should stay neutral.

The DNC teams actively worked to defeat Nagin under the auspice of the committee’s voting rights program.

The party’s field efforts also coincided with a national effort by Democrat contributors to support Landrieu.

Landrieu had outraised Nagin by a wide margin – $3.3 million to $541,980.

Preliminary campaign finance reports indicate many of Landrieu’s contributions came from out of state white Democrat leaders and financiers, including a $1,000 contribution from Sen. Ben Nelson’s (D-NE) PAC.

The defeat of Mitch Landrieu is the latest setback for Dean’s often criticized field operation.

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