He is clearly the favorite to win, but his chances are much better if he faces Amite Democrat State Representative John Bel Edwards in the November run-off. While Edwards is a moderate with an impressive military background and conservative views on issues such as abortion and second amendment rights, he still faces the problem of being a Democrat in the Republican dominated state of Louisiana.
Currently, Louisiana is a bright red state and there are no Democrats occupying any of the statewide offices. The only Democrat among the state's congressional delegation is Congressman Cedric Richmond of New Orleans, the most liberal area of the state. Louisiana Democrats are saddled with President Barack Obama as their leader. He is quite liberal on a range of issues and is clearly out of step with the majority of Louisiana voters.
It was no surprise that Senator Vitter took advantage of Obama's unpopularity in his 2010 re-election campaign. Throughout the campaign, Vitter linked his Democratic opponent to President Obama. It worked to deflect attention from the Senator's controversial association with the D.C. madam's call girl ring. Three years earlier, it was reported that Vitter's phone number was included in the madam's phone call records. After claiming he committed a “serious sin,” the Senator was able to defect more questions about the scandal and focus the attention of voters on his opponent's record and his political similarities to President Obama. His strategy worked and Vitter won an easy re-election to the U.S. Senate.
In this race, he is utilizing the familiar strategy of linking an opponent to President Obama. His new commercials accuse Republican Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle of being a long time Democrat with similar views to President Obama. His other new commercial links Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne to a variety of liberal issues.
His Republican opponents believe that the Vitter attacks indicate the Senator is losing support and slipping in the polls. It remains to be seen if the Senator's lead has diminished, but there is little doubt that he will use plenty of his campaign war chest to air attack ads targeting Dardenne and Angelle. At least initially, Vitter will ignore Edwards with the hopes of facing the Democrat in the run-off. With Louisiana's open primary system, two Republicans could face each other in the gubernatorial run-off, but the more likely scenario will be one Democrat versus one Republican.
Vitter's opponents will certainly return fire in the coming weeks. The Senator also has to deal with a political action committee that is running commercials reminding voters of Vitter's connection to prostitution.
Overall, the race is becoming more interesting and the campaign advertisements are more negative. This race looks to be more competitive than the Senator's 2010 re-election campaign. The result may be the same with David Vitter winning, but the road to victory will be more difficult and more expensive.