Louisiana Senate Race: The Vile of David Vitter

Politico has a story on the Louisiana Senate race. According to Politico, the race in the Bayou State is "turning ugly." That's not quite right. For over a year David Vitter has been running attack ads on Charlie Melacon trying to frame in the minds of Louisiana voters as a "liberul-lovin' Obama-endorsin' Congressman."

It's all the more peculiar since the race isn't even officially set. The Louisiana primary isn't until August 28th and both Vitter and Melacon still need to win that contest first. The family values creationist David Vitter has attracted 16 primary challengers, including a former Louisiana Supreme Court Justice, Chet D. Traylor. Melancon faces token opposition from two little known opponents in the Democratic primary.

The first Vitter attack ad ran last summer. The second spot began running on Thursday. It accuses Melacon of driving a sport utility vehicle at taxpayer expense though in reality the SUV is leased by the Congressional office for travel within the District. The 30 spot is also critical of a 2008 Wall Street bailout vote by Melancon and goes on to accuse Melacon for voting to provide benefits for illegal immigrants.

"Millionaires, illegals and Charlie Melancon are counting on you," the female narrator says as the ad closes with a composite picture of a downward looking Melancon next to three brown-skinned youths.

Charlie Melacon Campaign ads

The first ad from the Melancon campaign attempts to pre-empt Vitter’s latest attacks with a positive ad called “Honest.” The 30 second spot, released on Tuesday, features the Congressman from Napoleonville urging voters not to trust Vitter’s attacks on his record. “David Vitter hasn’t been honest with Louisiana, and I don’t expect anything different when he talks about my record,” Melancon says in the ad.

Melancon’s second ad released this week is entitled “The Worst.” The spot highlights Vitter’s personal scandals and slams him for his positions on women’s issues such as equal pay and coverage for mammograms. Those charges stem from the fact that Senator Vitter voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. And over the years, Senator Vitter has voted against various legislation regarding mammograms. In 2006, Vitter voted to override state mandates requiring health insurance to cover procedures such as breast cancer screening. Rather impressive that one can fit the vile career of David Vitter into just 30 seconds.

“We know how David Vitter handled his ‘serious sin,’” the ad says, referring to a phrase in Vitter’s 2007 apology for his involvement with a D.C.-area prostitution ring. “And when Vitter’s staffer violently abused his girlfriend, Sen. Vitter let him keep his job, working on women’s issues.”

The ad shows photos of the stab wounds Nicolia Demopoulos received from her ex-boyfriend, Brent Furer, a longtime aide to Louisiana Sen. David Vitter. Brent Furer pleaded guilty in 2008 to charges stemming from the knife-wielding altercation with his then ex- girlfriend. Mr. Furer had been assigned by the Senator to oversee women's issues and has had repeated brushes with the law dating back to the 1990s according to an ABC News investigation.

According to the polls, Senator Vitter holds a lead in the race. A July Anzalone-Liszt poll commissioned by the Melancon campaign found Vitter leading by only 1 percentage point, well within the poll’s 3.5 percent margin of error. But a Public Opinion Strategies poll conducted just days later for the NRSC found Vitter with a 20-percentage-point lead. Most independent polls by Rasmussen and Public Policy Polling put Vitter’s lead between 9 and 23 percentage points. It should also be noted that State Rep. Ernest Wooton changed his registration from Republican to Independent and will appear on the November ballot as an Independent.

Tags: Louisiana Senate Race, Rep. Charlie Melancon, Senator David Vitter (all tags)

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