New York (CNN) - An ethnic first is at stake tonight. Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao, a Louisiana Republican, was the first and only Vietnamese candidate in the U.S. House of Representatives. Will he keep his seat?
He is running in a predominantly Democratic and African-American district - the 9th Ward and Pontchartrain Park –against a black Democrat, state Rep. Cedric Richmond.
Cao won his seat in 2008 when he ran against Rep. William Jefferson, who was facing criminal charges. The district is 75 percent Democrat and around 60 percent black and hadn't had a Republican in that seat in more than 100 years. After Cao won, he tried to join the Congressional Black Caucus and he was the only Republican to vote yes for the first version of health care bill. During the Gulf oil disaster, he famously suggested a BP president should commit "hari-kari," a type of ritual suicide. Cao's staff is majority Democrat and he calls himself a personal friend of President Obama. Yet Pres. Obama's first campaign commercial was for Cao's opponent, Richmond.
Cao told me earlier this fall: "I see my role as a representative of this district as a gift from God and as a gift from the people. And once my job is over and done with, I'm very happy to go back to being a dad, a college professor."
He totally sold his district out on health reform, claiming in an initial vote that he was morally obligated to support it, then voting against the exact same package because of pressure by his GOP masters.