Rep. Cao in race against top Dem prospect

NEW ORLEANS — Freshman Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao (R) will face Democrat Cedric Richmond (D) in November.

The state lawmaker cruised past rivals Eugene Green, former Rep. William Jefferson's (D-La.) one-time chief of staff, and state Rep. Juan LaFonta in Saturday's primary. Richmond had 65 percent of the vote with more than a quarter of the precincts reporting. The Associated Press declared him the winner.

Cao, the first Vietnamese-American elected to the House, holds one of the most Democratic districts in the country. With Republicans looking to recapture the majority in the House, party leaders are hoping his victory in 2008 wasn't a fluke. But he faces long odds to hold his seat.

The National Republican Congressional Committee immediately pointed to Richmond's "baggage."

"His rap sheet includes a misdemeanor charge resulting from a violent bar fight, in addition to a suspended law license from the Louisiana State Bar Association for perjury on an election application," the NRCC said in a memo.

Richmond is a member of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Red to Blue program.