Tonight is round one of the closing moments of the runoff.
True, so far, the polls strongly indicate that David Vitter is having serious problems capturing the commitment of Republicans and Angele-Dardenne voters in the 80-plus range he needs to win. Despite the Democrats teasing him by calling him dangerous (see below), the fact remains, he is an absolute force to be reckoned.
Above all, this race is now between two men, not four. The level of focus is growing to a fever pitch. The turnout so far is strong. Republicans do not want to turn the government over to Democrats. Polls are helpful, but they can turn on a dime.
Voting is a very emotional activity. While those who have solidly made up their minds, there is little room to budge them. But, the other thirty percent of the voters are persuadable. The candidate who makes the most compelling emotional argument at the end will do more to carry the day, on Election Day, then all of the claims, cross-claims, counter-responses, commercials, to date.
This is a Red State and while a good Democratic candidate surely can win, Vitter is trying to establish Edwards as a bad democratic candidate. The election comes down to "trust" versus "Edwards the Democrat".
Nothing more, nothing less.
Tonight’s debate is the first opportunity to compare the two candidates, Jon Bel Edwards and David Vitter on the issues.
The Louisiana Democratic Party is approaching the debate by claiming David Vitter is a dangerous attacker, particularly when he is against the ropes:
As Louisianians tune into tonight’s gubernatorial debate between U.S. Senator David Vitter and Rep. John Bel Edwards, they should prepare themselves for a barrage of Washington-style attacks from Vitter as he looks to continue his unbeaten streak in Louisiana elections.
Vitter, who is a 16-year veteran of the U.S. Congress and a seasoned debater, has continued his vicious campaigning in the face of a series of polls that show him down double digits. Louisiana political analysts are already predicting a brutal debate between the two candidates, including one analyst saying,“David Vitter will be fighting for his political life.That’s what makes it so compelling…”
“We know that a desperate David Vitter is a dangerous David Vitter. He’s backed into a corner, and he’s not going to hold back in tonight’s debate,” said state Rep. Jack Montoucet (D-42). “Vitter’s been in Washington a long time, and while he might have been busy doing God knows what during that time, he’s definitely honed his debate skills while he’s been there. We expect a vicious fight from him tonight.”
VITTER: "We're going to get this done" to supporters today after picking up endorsements in Houma pic.twitter.com/deg18GKqRg
— Sabrina Wilson (@Sabrinafox8news) November 10, 2015
VITTER: "We're going to get this done" to supporters today after picking up endorsements in Houma pic.twitter.com/deg18GKqRg— Sabrina Wilson (@Sabrinafox8news) November 10, 2015
The reviews are in on David Vitter’s last-minute mea culpa ad. Louisiana and national outlets agree: ‘Hard Times’ is not just the name of Vitter’s ad, it’s an apt description of the state of his campaign.
Vitter’s ad comes as early voting has already started in Louisiana and fails to answer questions about why he skipped a vote to honor 28 fallen soldiers on the floor of the House of Representatives, just minutes before taking a call from the D.C. Madam.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING:
Baton Rouge Advocate columnist Stephanie Grace: “Vitter himself is looking increasingly desperate. …[b]y this point in the race, it’s hard to see Vitter playing a convincing victim.”
Roll Call’s Nathan Gonzales: “Vitter’s response ad is more indicative of a campaign in critical condition.”
Washington Post: “The Louisiana governor’s race is becoming a referendum on David Vitter.”
MSNBC: “There’s only one reason a candidate would release an ad like this: because he has to.”
WVUE political analyst Mike Sherman: "It's not surprising the Vitter camp needs to try to defend this. To date he has avoided discussing his 'serious sin.' John Bel Edwards is putting Senator Vitter in a position in these final two weeks to challenge him to talk about that serious sin or face the repercussions."
Time Magazine’s Michael Scherer: "If you find yourself explaining your prostitution scandal in a paid advertisement in the final days of a gubernatorial campaign, things could be better."
USA Today: “In 2007 Vitter confessed to a “serious sin” after the “D.C. Madam” scandal broke, but he has never provided details about the serious sin.”
Louisiana political analyst Robert Mann: “It was the first time anyone had credibly suggested that Vitter’s prostitution habit in the late 1990s and early 2000s had influenced the performance of his public duties.”
Baton Rouge Advocate: “The new — and potentially most damaging element — was to show that Vitter got a call from Palfrey on Feb. 27, 2001, only 39 minutes after missing a vote on House Concurrent Resolution 39. It honored “the ultimate sacrifice” of 28 soldiers killed by an Iraqi missile attack on Feb. 25, 1991, during Operation Desert Storm.”
Washington Post: “Vitter is in the equally unenviable position of having to try to explain why allegations that he called a prostitute are not fair game.”
New Orleans Times-Picayune: “In this case, Vitter is in trouble because there are concerns about his personal life.”
“Although there have been questions raised about what Vitter was doing when he received other calls from the D.C. madam's business, this is the first time his opponents have attempted to connect a call with the bill honoring slain servicemen.”