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Louisiana GOP: Thanks for Nothing, RNC « The Washington Independent

I’m at a breakfast for Ken Blackwell, the former Ohio Secretary of State who’s running for Republican National Committee chairman. In Blackwell’s absence, due to a flight delay, two of his supporters are speaking for him: John Yob of Michigan and Louisiana state GOP chairman Roger Villere.

Villere boasted that his state was one of the few where Sen. John McCain performed better in 2008 than former President George W. Bush did in 2004, and after the election, the party gained a House seat in New Orleans when Anh “Joseph” Cao defeated indicted former Democratic Rep. William Jefferson in a runoff.

At the time, the RNC and current chairman Mike Duncan pointed to the Cao win as proof that its current leadership was working and winning. I pointed this out to Villere, who laughed out loud.

“I would say talk to Joseph Cao and have him tell you who helped him,” said Villere. “We shut down our state operation and moved it to New Orleans. We built an organization from the ground up. When we called the RNC for help they said … they’d strongly consider it. That’s the way it was was left for us, that they were strongly considering it.”

After the election, Mike Duncan had pointed to Cao’s win as proof that his leadership at the RNC was working.

Quin Hillyer, an editor at The Washington Examiner editor who used to work in Louisiana politics, elbowed in to point out that he’d written about Cao ten weeks and two and a half weeks before the election. “[Cao's] people told me how glad they were to be getting national attention, because they were trying to get help from the RNC.”

Villere laughed again, and nodded.

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