For Anh Cao there is bad news and there is good news.
First the bad: Anyone elected to Congress usually faces stiff competition the first time he is up for re-election. That happened to Charles Melancon in the 3rd Congressional District and to Steve Scalise in the first. Both of them were able to withstand the competition. Cao will have strong opposition too when he faces re-election, only he will not likely survive it. The district was designed to have a black majority. A strong black political candidate should be able to win easily in two years. The national Democratic party will know that this is a seat it can win back. And if President Obama is still riding high in 2010, he can help. Anh Cao cannot count on two miracles in his political career. He is likely to be a one-term congressman.
Now the good news: No matter what happens, no one can take away that he was elected to the U.S. Congress. That is quite an accomplishment for someone who was part of the flight from Saigon as a child. He has a chance to become nationally important, especially as a champion of the Vietnamese, who are dispersed throughout the country. He is also someone that the Republican party dearly needs, a non-white with a following. Cao can develop his own niche, and the Republican party should always assure that there is a place for him somewhere.
For the ethnically-challenged Republican party, Louisiana deserves special blessing, having given it an Indian-American governor and a now a first-generation Vietnamese-American congressman. Cao has yet to prove what he can do, but we know this about him: He had the wisdom to take a chance and it paid off. In politics, wisdom and luck can sometimes bring a person a long way.
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