House gets a bit more representative

The House of Representatives doesn’t always live up to its name, thanks to the way it is elected. Representation of women and many ethnic and religious minorities lags. Only in 2006, for example, did it get its first Muslim member. And, as of yesterday’s results in Louisiana, the House finally has its first Vietnamese-American member, who will join the Republican caucus. Congratulations to Anh Cao! (It did not hurt to be running against William Jefferson.)

OK, a puzzle that I hope someone can help with. I thought Louisiana used a top-two runoff system. Clearly most of its House seats were already decided in November. Yet the two “runoffs” Saturday had more than two candidates, and in neither case did the winner break 50%. The combined vote of Jefferson and a Green candidate was greater than Cao’s votes (though if we play that game, we should note also that when the Libertartians’ 0.82% is added to Cao’s total, he is back on top). In the other race, Democrat Paul Carmouche lost to Republican John Fleming by 0.38%, with Fleming barely over 48%.

This is a strange way to run a runoff.

4 thoughts on “House gets a bit more representative

  1. Louisiana switched to plurality for federal elections beginning this year. According to the New York Times, the election in this Congressional district and one other were delayed from November 4 until December 6 by Hurricane Gustav.

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