Nathan Stubbs

How Jefferson lost

by Nathan Stubbs

Contrary to common sense, New Orleans Congressman William Jefferson’s indictment last year on federal racketeering charges may not have been his ultimate downfall politically. He was heavily favored to win re-election Saturday after sweeping the Democratic primaries and analysis of the election in The Times-Picayune shows that Jefferson probably suffered more from Saturday’s lackluster turnout (less than half the Nov. 4 election turnout) and a confused electorate than any cloud of corruption. This was the first time in 30 years that Louisiana held closed Congressional primaries. Hurricane Gustav also delayed the first primary election, pushing the general election into December. The Picayune notes that Jefferson said over the course of the general election that he ran into several voters who mistakenly thought that he been re-elected on Nov. 4.