Election 2006: Scandal-Plagued Rep. William Jefferson Keeps Seat

Wiki the VoteOn Saturday, Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) defeated Democratic challenger Karen Carter in a runoff election, 57%-43%, to keep his seat in Louisiana's 2nd District. Jefferson is currently being investigated by the FBI for allegedly accepting a bribe from the owner of iGate Inc. to arrange deals for the high-tech company in Nigeria and several other African countries. Federal authorities videotaped him taking $100,000 in alleged bribe money, and $90,000 of it was later found in a freezer in his Washington D.C. apartment during an FBI raid in May. The Justice Department is also looking into "at least seven other schemes in which Jefferson sought things of value in return for his official acts." The ongoing investigation led House Democrats to remove Jefferson from the influential Ways and Means Committee earlier this year, and the Louisiana Democratic Party to endorse Carter in the election.

With Jefferson's victory, only two House races now remain contested:

  • Texas-23rd District: Incumbent Republican Rep. Henry Bonilla faces off against former Democratic Rep. Ciro Rodriguez in a runoff set to take place tomorrow. Bonilla fell just short of obtaining the 50 percent he needed to win on November 7th after a judge threw out the congressional district in place during the primary, ordering the general election open to all interested candidates. The district had been drawn under a plan orchestrated by former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) in 2003 and was ruled to violate the voting rights of Latinos.
  • Florida-13th District: Republican Vern Buchanan has been certified the winner of Rep. Katherine Harris's open seat with a 369 vote margin over Democrat Christine Jennings. However, voting irregularities, including 18,000 missing votes, were rampant during the election and Jennings and several organizations have filed suit to challenge the results. They are seeking a new election because the electronic voting machines used in the district have no paper trail.