By Melinda Deslatte
The Associated Press
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Attorney General Buddy Caldwell has won a second term in office, after his only competitor dropped out of the race.
Former U.S. Rep. Joseph Cao filed paperwork Tuesday formally withdrawing from the election, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office said.
“After meeting personally with Mr. Buddy Caldwell, who made the assurance that he will fight for the best interests of the people of Louisiana, I am announcing that I am dropping out of the race for attorney general,” Cao said in a statement issued through his spokeswoman.
Both Cao and Caldwell are Republicans.
Cao, a lawyer who served one term in Congress representing New Orleans before being defeated by a Democrat, had done little to campaign or visibly raise funds for the Oct. 22 election. He also had expressed interest in becoming Louisiana’s next education superintendent.
A former district attorney from Tallulah, Caldwell had the backing of Gov. Bobby Jindal after his switch to the Republican Party in the last year and his fight against the federal health care overhaul.
When he signed up for the race two weeks ago, Cao criticized Caldwell as not being aggressive enough in leading the state Department of Justice.
Caldwell becomes the second statewide elected official to win a new term in January without opposition. No one chose to run against Treasurer John Kennedy, a Republican, who will advance to a fourth term.
Cao didn’t say whether he will continue to seek the education superintendent’s job. The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education won’t make a decision on a superintendent until after the new elected terms in office begin next year.
The nation’s first Vietnamese American congressman, Cao first rose to prominence in Louisiana as an activist in a Vietnamese community in eastern New Orleans that was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina.
“Whether as an elected official or a private citizen, I too will continue to serve the people of this state and fight for what is best for our people,” Cao said. (end)