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So William Jefferson won the Democratic Party primary Tuesday, beating out Helena Moreno. But we will have to go back to the polls to vote on this race a third time in December for the actual election.

We could save plenty of money and avoid a lot of hassle if we adopted Instant Runoff Voting or something similar. But I digress.

On the December ballot, I like the Green Party candidate Malik Rahim. It’s my belief that Greens, and any third party candidates, need to make their case at the state and local level. There are any number of barriers to third party success at the federal level, and especially in the presidential race.

But at the local level, we have an opportunity to distinguish ourselves. At the local level, the playing field is a little more level, and we can get our message out a little more easily. At the local level, the Democratic-Republican duopoly is a little less firmly entrenched.

Or is it?

The Times-Picayune ran a story this morning about Jefferson’s primary victory and the December election. Since the majority of voters in the 2nd Congressional district are registered Democrats, the T-P notes:

Jefferson is considered the prohibitive favorite in the Dec. 6 general election against four little-known opponents.

Little-known, eh? I can accept that Malik Rahim isn’t as well-known as Jefferson. After all, Jefferson has been in the spotlight for years as our Congressional representative. Lately he’s garnered even more attention than usual. When the FBI raids your house and finds $90K in your freezer it tends to have that effect.

But Malik has some fame in his own right. Granted, he’s nowhere near as famous as the incumbent. But around here, Malik Rahim is hardly an unknown. He especially shone after Katrina, when he helped found the Common Ground Medical Clinic and Common Ground Relief, organizations which are still active today.

Yet this article in the Times-Picayune goes on to focus on the Republican candidate, Anh Joseph Cao. Now this guy really is an unknown. I’m not disparaging him in the least, but the fact is that if you compare Malik Rahim and Anh Jospeh Cao, the little-known candidate is clearly Cao.

That, of course, is about to change, because Cao has the backing of (drumroll please) Republican power broker Jay Batt. He will be helping Cao raise money and get endorsements.

Cao gets mentioned by name twelve times in the article. Malik Rahim gets mentioned only once, in passing. And that’s a shame.

I was tangentially involved in Malik’s run for City Council back in 2002. Unfortunately that campaign was not well organized and never really caught fire. Running a good campaign is hard work. I’m less involved with the local Greens these days because of other life priorities, but it’s my sincere hope that this campaign is more effective.

Coverage like this doesn’t make it any easier.

Published inNew OrleansNews & MediaPolitix


  1. David David

    If the coverage sucks, writing a letter to the editor to advocate for Rahim would be one way to counter the coverage.

    I’m voting for Rahim, but I you’re right that he’s going to need a good organization under him.

  2. alli alli

    I worked at Common Ground long enough to know better. He might have earned my vote if he had cared one iota about all the women who were raped and assaulted at St Mary’s in 2006.

  3. Alli, I remember hearing about these problems at Common Ground. I was unaware of Malik’s involvement — or lack thereof — at that point. That’s most concerning. I hope someone from Malik’s campaign can respond.

  4. Christian Roselund Christian Roselund


    Unreported sexual assaults and rapes are a very real and all too common problem in our city, our nation, and our world. However to blame Malik for what, as far as I can tell, is an alleged and unreported incident of sexual assault in an organization that had over ten thousand volunteers come through its doors is beyond unfair.

    What I do know is that in the one such incident like this that I have uncovered in Common Ground, the police were notified and the assailant was arrested. The woman who was assaulted is still working with Common Ground.

    I do not know who you are, what your experiences were or what your intent is. However I think readers should be clear about how easily someone can make such allegations with no evidence whatsoever.

    Christian Roselund

  5. Garvey Garvey


    I am interested why you would sooner vote for $Bill than Cao. Is it blind partisanship, or does this profile of Cao seem too “right wing” for you?

    -promote Category 5 Hurricane Protection
    -strong anti-crime initiatives
    -environmentally-sound growth policies
    -in-house counsel for Boat People SOS, a civil rights organization for Vietnamese refugees, and opened a New Orleans office to assist poor minorities on social and legal issues, initiating programs to help victims of torture, and to promote social and cultural integration.
    -Opened local Boat People SOS Office to help local refugees
    – Has worked at local, state and national level to ensure equal rights of legal minorities in U.S.
    – Helped protect District 103 neighborhoods from illegal and hazardous dumping of Katrina debris
    “His is a life of determination to not give in to adversity and to always seek social improvement and justice. ”

    Wow–that guy sounds awful. A real danger to democracy.

    Maybe he wears the “R” jersey b/c the La. “D” machine is so corrupt?

  6. alli alli

    I’m reluctant to explain much of this on a public forum, but more than willing to discuss my experiences over email – allidejong at gmail dot com.

    Suffice it to say that Malik’s managerial skills, based on my months of experience at CG in 2006 and involvement beyond that time, were beyond subpar.

  7. Sean Sean

    I’m not in his district so I won’t have to make a decision for any of these candidates.

    However, my personal experience with Malik has been positive, so I’m helping out in the campaign. I’ve always known him to be concerned when someone else is in need. I’ve seen him motivate people to step outside of their normal routine to help others. He’s asking the community to get involved in process if he were elected.

    Regardless of how this election goes Malik will continue to support housing, health, and ex-offender programs.

  8. alli alli

    To clarify my original comment, which was posted too hastily:

    My concerns with Malik are not necessarily personal. I’ve only met him a handful of times and he would not remember my name. My experiences working as a longer term volunteer with Common Ground make me uninterested in supporting him as a candidate. There were very serious problems at CG and he chose not to personally involve himself with them. I understand that some see that as simply a different philosophy of organizing folks to do relief, but I see it as a disqualification for public office.

    Again, if anyone wishes to discuss or dispute this, please feel free to email me.

  9. Why, glad you asked, Dan.

    Instant Runoff Voting or IRV is a method where, rather than voting for one and only one candidate, you rank your choices. Then, if no candidate gets a majority, you can conduct “virtual” runoffs rather than have multiple rounds of voting.

    I used to think the appeal of this system was that it’s fair and democratic — and it is. But it’s also cost-effective, and I think that’s a big selling point.

    You can read more about it here:

  10. Tim Tim

    For me, the choice is totally clear: Malik Rahim. Dollar Bill deserves prison, not the statehouse. And the thought of another religious Republican in Washington making laws based on their personal faith system is just too scary for words. Malik has a sharp mind and a true heart. Let’s send him to Washington and see what he can do!



  11. Anthony Anthony

    It looks like it is going to be Cao for me. I am going to set aside my squeamishness at voting republican. Can’t remember the last time I did. But I think he is probably going to have the best chance of knocking off bill jefferson and that is my primary motivation for going to the polls. If the vote fragments over 3 challengers Jefferson wins and New Orleans loses. 2 years and this other guy is out of there. He’ll be a caretaker congressman just like Moreno likely would have been a caretaker one term congresswoman. In the past in elections between 2 unacceptable candidates I have sat on my hands. But this time, this election I can’t do that. Jefferson has to go.

  12. Garvey Garvey

    OK, so Tim’s beliefs are baseless bigotry towards people of faith…we are all now clear on that. Textbook stereotyping. I look forward to any refutation of this, using Cao’s actual record as an example of how he deserves this characterization.

    Or do you hate that his desire to help others–the poor, the downtrodden, the forgotten living on the margins of society–achieve improvement and justice stems from his belief in God? I mean, if that belief stemmed from something else, say, Alinsky, he’d be cool, then?

    And to Anthony, is it the “R” on his jersey that bothers you, even though you’ll vote for him? Or are there some issues of his that you disagree with? And if he is elected, will you examine his record to see if he actually achieved anything of value for your district, or will you blindly pull the big “D” lever?

  13. Anthony Anthony

    Garvey, lots of things the “R”s stand for bother me. Giving one more vote to the Minority Whip bothers me.

    But re-electing Bill Jefferson bothers me more. In this case the devil you know isn’t any better. Could there be something in the Cao resume that pushes me to sit on my hands altogether? maybe.

    And anyway… I am simply being realistic about his position as a one term congressman. And ultimately his performance, unless spectacular, which given he will be a freshman rep in the minority party at the back of the seniority line seems unlikely, may not trump the fundamental democratic voter base here. He might be elected by the democrats embarrassed by Jefferson, in an attempt to remove Jefferson, but almost any democrat that ran against Jefferson this time could probably pick him off next time. This is the political reality. And because they have some of the same issues with GOP policy that I do.

  14. Ergh. I’d been considering Cao. He would have been the most prominent Republican to get my vote since I held my nose for Roemer in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent facing a runoff between Slick Eddie and David DuKKKe. But the ties to Jay Batt have shattered my illusion that Cao might have been one of those rare non-toxic Republicans.

  15. David David

    The fact that a candidate chooses to call himself a Republican, especially after these past eight years, says a lot about a candidate. To use an extreme analogy, few would hesitate to dismiss a candidate who is a member of the Nazi party. Most would hesitate to draw a comparison between the Republican and Nazi parties, but I imagine the loved ones of dead or tortured Iraqis, a number in the millions, might not have a problem with the comparison.

    I have voted against Bill Jefferson in his past two attempts at re-election. If he’s convicted, he should go to jail. But his kind of corruption bothers me a lot less than the obvious systemic corruption of the GOP. Jefferson hasn’t gotten anyone killed. He hasn’t trampled our Constitution by rescinding things like habeas corpus. He hasn’t stolen an election. He used his power to shake down an overseas company–not good, but nothing new.

    With McCain’s campaign, we saw the GOP’s alleged best example of integrity, of “straight talk,” absolutely prostitute himself and sell out all his convictions just to gain power.

  16. Garvey Garvey

    Ah, Godwin’s Law. Thanks, David.

    BTW, your “millions of Iraqis” number is ludicrous and a flat out lie. Then again, that’s your M.O.

  17. Anthony Anthony

    hmmmm I didn’t find the story about the Family Research Council. But I did find their website. I thought 501(c) 3 orgs were prohibited from making endorsements.

    I’m not interestedh in theocracy. But I’d want to get it right.

    Also, either they have anh cao’s website wrong or he hasn’t paid his hosting bill which isn’t a good sign of a working campaign.

  18. David David

    In 2006, British medical journal The Lancet published a study finding 650,000 civilians had been killed in the Iraq war, discussed here. If each of those casualties had, on average, 3 loved ones, that leaves 1.95 million loved ones left to mourn their deaths. Of course, most people have far more than 3 loved ones. And the 1.95 million does not reflect the deaths that have occured since 2006 nor the number tortured.

    With the Iraq War, the U.S. unlawfully invaded a country without provocation, imprisoned people capriciously and without recourse, and resorted to torture. Each reader can decide how closely those GOP policies resemble Nazi policies. Naomi Wolf offers a compelling comparison here.

    Unfortunately, my exchanges with Garvey began when I returned the sarcasm he extended to me. Despite making an oveture and effort to put that aside and focus on facts, Garvey doesn’t seem interested. So, I don’t foresee responding to him for the following reasons:

    1. Like a lot of conservatives, Garvey resorts to hostile attacks when facts don’t serve his arguments. I do appreciate that Garvey acknowledged this tactic. Others have noted his hostility, too. Certainly, I’ve gotten most of it in which I’ve been called a liar and vagabond, among other things. I realize that in our initial exchange, I got really sarcastic, too, but I confined my sarcasm to Garvey’s posts not his person.

    2. Garvey’s reading comprehension seems to be lacking, which might explain why he prefers these emotional exchanges. An example:
    I wrote: …in a two-party system, the first party to set the agenda that demonizes their opposition would have, at least in the short term, a strategic advantage.
    Garvey, critiquing me, wrote: It’s an awfully simplistic view of politics that ascribes malice as the most powerful factor.
    Well, I never wrote malice is the most powerful factor, whatever “most powerful factor” means. There are other examples.

    3. Garvey engages in a lot of projection, attributing, usually falsely, to others behavior he criticizes yet engages in himself. The most common is his inappropriate complaints of “ad homenim attacks.” Yet, as I pointed out, ad homenim attacks are one of Garvey’s chief tactics. Another is his complaint about the “angry left” despite the civil interactions he’s had here. Meanwhile others have noted Garvey’s own hostility.

    In summary, Garvey’s arguments aren’t worth responding to. I’m sorry my initial, reciprocal sarcasm to him bothers so much that he is compelled to hound me on this board. He is, of course, free to do so. In lieu of my reply, just assume I consider it the same of fatuous nonsense he’s been posting.

    On the plus side, it has been interesting to engage a conservative, chock full of right-wing talking points and a patina of intelligence, and to witness just how vacuous his arguments are.

  19. Garvey Garvey

    I told myself I wouldn’t respond after the Nazi bit, b/c you jumped the shark there, but if you review your grammar, your 9:43am post above states millions dead. Grammatically, speaking. (Careful in that glass house about reading comprehension.)

    And the Lancet study is nearly universally debunked as horsexit.

    As for your “original point” lie that you trot out yet again, I reiterate: “Where did you make *that* point? Certainly not in the post B linked to.” Maybe in your mind you meant to make that point, but it didn’t appear on the board. Certainly not the “original” post B linked to. Maybe B mis-linked and you made that point elsewhere.

    I hope your life is fuller than what you exhibit here. Be well.

  20. Garvey Garvey

    BTW, I want to be clear that I do not think my grammar is perfect or that I was being some Grammar Guy with my last post (as evidenced by my poor grammar in that post). But I stick by the FACT that the appositive phrase in the now infamous “Nazi Post” refers to the dead, not the loved ones.

  21. Tim Tim

    For clarity, the Family Research Council didn’t endorse Cao, but their PAC did. A lot of 501(c)3 organizations have a sister PAC that does the politics they can’t. But it’s just an IRS trick. The endorsement is clear.



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