Embattled Congressman Bill Jefferson has been a no-show at most public forums for candidates seeking the Second Congressional District seat, which he has held for nearly 18 years. Despite the incumbents absence from the public forums, most of his challengers quietly concede that he is likely to land one of the two runoff spots when the Democratic primary votes are counted on Sept. 6.
In addition to not attending most public debates, Jefferson also has been absent from the airwaves thus far. Early voting begins this week for the Sept. 6 Democratic primary, and several of his opponents have bought time on local radio and TV stations. So far, however, Jefferson has flown below radar. His legal troubles clearly have impacted his fundraising efforts, but he has garnered the endorsements of local labor groups. Organized labor can provide a lot of campaign workers on and before Election Day, and that can help Jefferson deal with his shortage of campaign cash. Turnout on Sept. 6 is expected to be very low. Once again, Jeffersons prospects depend significantly on who his runoff challenger will be assuming he makes the Oct. 4 runoff. Clancy DuBos