Friday, 08 October 2010 16:17

Melancon, Louisiana Sen.Candidates Urges Sponsors To Keep Debates; Vitter Endorsements

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steve_sabludowsky01 With slightly over three weeks left to go until the November general election and more particularly the United States Senate race, the Congressman Charlie Melancon campaign appears to be concerned that David Vitter could be successful in preventing debates for the upcoming election. Melancon and the other U.S. Senate candidates who are vying against the Republican incumbent Vitter have sent a letter to debate sponsors urging them not to cancel the upcoming televised debates.

So far, Vitter has not appeared on any televised debates and according to most polls, enjoys a comfortable lead in the elections.

Here is the press release sent out by the Melancon campaign:

Rep. Charlie Melancon joined five other candidates for US Senate today to send a letter to the organizers of five televised US Senate debates urging them to continue with their proposed debates despite David Vitter’s unwillingness to participate.  The rare joint candidate letter was co-signed by Melancon, Milton Gordon, Randall Hayes, William McShan, Mike Spears, and Ernest Wooton.

On August 31st, Melancon challenged Vitter and the other Senate candidates to a series of five live, televised town hall-style debates across Louisiana.  Vitter has not responded to the challenge.  In the 2004 US Senate campaign, Vitter committed to five live, televised debates.   

Six nonpartisan organizations have stepped forward with invitations to host televised debates – however, Vitter has responded to only one.  A full list of debate invitations follows with Vitter’s response to each one:

2010 Debate Invitation




HTV-10 (Houma)

Oct. 5th



University of Louisiana, Monroe / KNOE-TV (Monroe)

Oct. 12th



University of Louisiana, Lafayette / KATC-TV (Lafayette)

Oct. 18th or Oct. 27th



Council for a Better Louisiana /

Louisiana Public Broadcasting (Baton Rouge)

Oct. 21st



League of Women Voters / WBRZ-TV (Baton Rouge)

Oct. 26th



WWL-TV (New Orleans)

Oct. 28th



Below is the text of the letter sent by the six candidates.  The letter was sent to debate organizers via fax and email last night.


October 7, 2010

John Denison
Managing Editor, KNOE-TV
1400 Oliver Road
Monroe, La. 71201
(318) 388-8888 / [email protected]

Dr. Ryan Teten
Associate Professor of Political Science University of Louisiana, Lafayette
P.O. Box 41652
Lafayette, Louisiana 70504
(337) 482-6165/ [email protected]

Barry Erwin
President, Council for a Better Louisiana
Post Office Box 4308
Baton Rouge, LA  70821-4308
(225) 344-2225 / [email protected]

Beth Courtney
President, Louisiana Public Broadcasting
7733 Perkins Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70810
(225) 767-5660 / [email protected]

Jean Armstrong
President, League of Women Voters
728 North Blvd.
Baton Rouge, LA
(225) 927-2255 / [email protected]

Chuck Bark
News Director, WBRZ-TV
1650 Highland Road
Baton Rouge, LA
(225) 336-2341 / [email protected]

Dominic Massa
Producer, WWL-TV
1024 N Rampart Street
New Orleans, LA
(504) 529-6298 / [email protected]

Dear debate organizers,

As candidates for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by David Vitter, we are writing to urge you to continue with your planned debate even if Senator Vitter will not participate.  Senator Vitter is free to choose whether or not to show up to answer the people of Louisiana’s questions, but we are discouraged by the notion that you would cancel the debate simply because David Vitter will not attend.

We believe the people of Louisiana deserve to hear where all candidates stand on the important issues facing our country and our state. Just as voters have the responsibility to learn as much as they can about candidates for office, candidates have an obligation to provide voters with the facts they need to make an informed choices and the media has a civic obligation to provide a forum for the honest and fair exchange of information.

You should not deny the people of Louisiana a chance to hear from the candidates for U.S. Senate. You have proposed a live, televised debate with unscreened questions and choosing not to proceed simply because David Vitter will not show up effectively gives the Senator the power to deny voters the right to hear candidates debate.

We all agree that the people of Louisiana deserve a Senator who is willing to address their concerns and answer their questions honestly. Despite David Vitter’s apparent unwillingness to do so, the debates must go on.


Milton Gordon

Randall T. Hayes,
[email protected]

Rep. Charlie Melancon
Contact: Jeff Giertz, 225-924-7676
[email protected]

William McShan
[email protected]

Mike Spears
[email protected]

Ernest Wooton
[email protected]



Sen. Vitter is beginning to receive endorsements from a number of South Louisiana politicians . The endorsements come at a time when Charlie Melancon has begun a run of commercials specifically dealing with the BP oil spill. Melancon has been claiming that Vitter attempted to protect the oil company during the early days of the spill. The congressman is contending that the incumbent proposed legislation that put cap on liability damages.

Here is a press release from the Vitter campaign:


Bipartisan Group of Coastal Leaders Endorse Senator Vitter
Reference Vitter’s swift, decisive leadership, and his bill to remove any liability cap for BP

(Metairie, La) -- Today, U.S. Senator David Vitter’s campaign released a co-signed statement from a bipartisan group of coastal ­­­elected officials expressing their strong support and endorsement of Vitter’s reelection campaign.

The group includes Democrats and Republicans from the five parishes most affected by the Gulf Coast oil spill disaster.

Their statement reads as follows:

“As leaders in coastal parishes all along the Gulf – Democrats and Republicans – we write to express our strong support and endorsement of David Vitter for U.S. Senate in this fall’s election.

“As soon as the oil disaster hit the Gulf, Senator Vitter was on the ground in our communities, personally involved.  He also acted swiftly and provided important support and leadership in Washington, D.C.

“Senator Vitter promptly introduced emergency legislation to completely remove the existing cap in federal law for economic damages as it pertains to BP and our disaster.  His bill also included an expedited claims process so that affected Louisianians aren’t just made whole, but are paid something immediately and on an ongoing basis.

“We may be of different political parties, but we are all united in working to restore our coast in the wake of the BP oil disaster.  Senator David Vitter’s quick, effective action during the height of the disaster was extremely helpful and decisive.  For that, we enthusiastically endorse him for reelection.”

Here is a list of the group of coastal leaders who signed the above statement:


Jefferson Parish
Parish Councilmen Chris Roberts (Democrat)
Mayor of Lafitte Tim Kerner (Democrat)
Mayor of Grand Isle David Carmadelle (Democrat)

Lafourche Parish
Parish President Charlotte Randolph (Republican)

Plaquemines Parish
Parish President Billy Nungesser (Republican)

St. Bernard Parish
Parish President Craig Taffaro (Republican)
Councilman-at-Large Wayne Landry (Democrat)

Terrebonne Parish

Parish President Michel Claudet (Republican)


How do you feel about the lack of debates for the upcoming election? Do you believe the candidates should debate?




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