Caldwell has company in La. AG race

Jessica M. Karmasek Sep. 9, 2011, 10:38am


BATON ROUGE, La. (Legal Newsline) - Former U.S. Congressman Anh "Joseph" Cao has officially filed to run against Louisiana Attorney General James "Buddy" Caldwell.

Cao, a Republican and the first Vietnamese American to serve in Congress, said in April that he planned to challenge the now-Republican Caldwell.

According to the Louisiana Secretary of State's website, Cao qualifed to run against the incumbent Caldwell Thursday.

He has pointed to Caldwell's switch from Democrat to Republican as a reason for running, calling the move a "politically expedient... flip flop."

Caldwell officially switched parties on Feb. 2.

Cao served in Congress from 2009 to 2011, representing Louisiana's 2nd Congressional District, and was the first Republican to serve in that district since 1891.

Last month, U.S. Sen. David Vitter endorsed Caldwell for reelection.

He praised Caldwell's commitment to conservative principles and protecting the state's taxpayers and families, calling him "a leader."

"Buddy Caldwell has consistently fought to protect Louisiana taxpayers and Louisiana families. I am proud to endorse him for reelection as attorney general," said Vitter, Louisiana's Republican senator.

"Buddy has fought Obamacare in the courts, stood up against illegal immigration and supported our core principles of mainstream conservative reform. He's locked up violent predators that harm our families and children, and given victims a strong voice in the criminal justice system.

"Thanks to Buddy Caldwell, Louisiana's a safer and a better place to work and raise our families. That's why we need keep him as our attorney general."

Caldwell was one of the original state attorneys general to file suit challenging the constitutionality of President Barack Obama's federal health care reform.

Fourteen states, along with 12 others, filed a challenge to the law in March 2010. The 26 states contend that its individual mandate requiring that all Americans purchase health insurance or face a penalty is unconstitutional.

But Cao says Caldwell has not done enough to fight oil giant BP following last year's Gulf oil spill.

"I believe the state needs an aggressive attorney general to fight for the state and its citizens of the state especially on the problems from the BP oil spill," he told the Times-Picayune.

An explosion and fire occurred on Transocean's drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, licensed to BP, on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers and resulting in the largest offshore spill in U.S. history.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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