In a stunning upset, Republican Anh “Joseph” Cao, a Vietnamese immigrant with no political experience, has defeated Democratic incumbent William Jefferson for the U.S. House of Representative’s seat of the 2nd District of Lousiana.
Anh “Joseph” Cao will represent the 2nd District of Lousiana in the new Congressional term after defeating William Jefferson. Cao, an immigration attorney, is a newcomer to politics and will be the first person of Vietnamese descent to become a representative in Congress. His opponent William Jefferson was plagued by allegations of corruption throughout his campaign and is currently facing federal indictments related to illegal funds received from Nigerian business interests. Jefferson became notorious in Louisiana after the FBI found $90,000 in cash allegedly received as bribes in his freezer.
Though Louisiana is often mocked as a rural backwater by liberals, the state has now elected the first Indian American governor and the first Vietnamese American Congressman. Both are Republicans. Way to go, Lousiana!
Biography of Joseph Cao
Anh “Joseph” Cao, 41, was born in Saigon in 1967. He fled Vietnam in 1975 with his mother and two siblings when he was eight years old, and came to America as a refugee. His father, a soldier in the South Vietnamese army, was captured and imprisoned by North Vietnamese Communist forces.
Despite a disadvantaged childhood in a refugee community, Cao excelled in academics and went on to study at Baylor University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Physics. He then received a master’s degree in philosophy at Fordham University and considered studying to become a priest before entering law school at Loyola University, where he received a J.D. in 2000.
Since receiving his law degree, he has taught law at Loyola and practiced immigration law in the private sector. He has also served as a board member of Boat People SOS (BPSOS), a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering Vietnamese American communities.
He announced his candidacy for Congress in the 2nd District of Louisiana in 2008 against Democratic incumbent William Jefferson, who was hampered by allegations of corruption and barely won the Democratic primary. Despite being relatively unknown to most voters, Cao received the endorsements of Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal and many major Louisiana newspapers. He won the election on December 6, 2008, and will be the nation’s first Vietnamese American Congressman.
He is married to Hieu “Kate�? Hoang, and has two daughters named Sophia and Betsy.
See Joseph Cao’s campaign ad video below: