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Minority report

"Minority report" Continued...

Issue: "At the wire," Nov. 6, 2010

After the service congregants picked up whole pickles and munched on them over white styrofoam cups as they talked over the upcoming Saints game and waited outside in the warm morning sun to talk to Cao. For every man in the congregation, there were at least five women, and women are the predominant voters in New Orleans too. Clay chatted with congregants, mentioning that he remembered as a boy seeing the church under construction.

"I'm not backing a Republican. I'm backing Joseph Cao the person. Nobody has more integrity and more character than this man," Clay told me as the church emptied. "We're going to surprise a lot of people."

More GOP diversity?

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus are well-known Democratic coalitions in the House that wield real political power. The GOP has no parallel. Cao is one of three Asian Republicans in the House; there are eight more who are Democrats.

Of the House's 41 African-American members, all are Democrats according to Congressional Research Service. Of the 28 Hispanics in the House, 24 are Democrats. The one Native American in the House, Tom Cole of Oklahoma, is Republican.

But more ethnic minorities are running on the Republican ticket this time. Tim Scott, an African-American, expects to win the 1st District in South Carolina, and he would be the first black Republican in the House since Rep. J.C. Watts of Oklahoma left office in 2003. African-American Allen West is in a neck-and-neck race with Democratic Rep. Ron Klein in Florida's 22nd District. Another,

Ryan Frazier, is trying to unseat Rep. Ed Perlmutter in Colorado's 7th.

A Vietnamese-American, California state assemblyman Van Tran, has put Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez's reelection in California in jeopardy. A Republican, Tran represents an increasingly influential Vietnamese community in southern California, and Sanchez said on the Spanish-language channel Univision that "the Vietnamese and Republicans" were trying "to take this seat from us." She said later she regretted her choice of words. Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, an African-American, has said one of his goals is to increase the party's ethnic diversity.

Emily Belz
Emily Belz

Emily, who has covered everything from political infighting to pet salons for The Indianapolis Star, The Hill, and the New York Daily News, reports for WORLD from New York City. Follow Emily on Twitter @emzleb.

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