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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Vitter’s World of Trouble

While we are on the subject of Louisiana Republican politicians, Politico’s Daniel Libit has an update today on what could be the strangest primary contest of 2010: David Vitter’s effort to get himself re-elected to the U.S. Senate after admitting he’d frequented prostitutes in Washington.
He could face a rather unusual field, to say the least. While nobody really thinks porn star Stormy Daniels would have a chance to win either party’s nomination for the Senate (she hasn’t indicated which primary she would enter, if any), her presence in the campaign would ensure that Louisiana voters don’t forget about Vitter’s hypocritical extracurricular activities for even a moment. And if conservative Republicans do get antsy about Vitter’s problems, another potential candidate, the nationally renowned Christian Right figure, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, could well be there to harvest the backlash.
Vitter’s sought to shore up his support not by choosing the more tolerant horn of the dilemma in which he has placed himself, but by becoming a conservative’s conservative–becoming, for example, one of two Senators casting dissenting votes against Hillary Clinton’s confirmation as Secretary of State, and ranting about supposed ACORN subsidies in the economic stimulus legislation.
One wild card in the 2010 Senate race will involve an upcoming decision by the Louisiana Republican central committee about whether to open up its primary to independent voters (in case you missed it, Louisiana abandoned its famous “jungle primary” for federal–but not state and local–races prior to 2008). A more open GOP primary could tempt other Republicans into the contest, and also force Vitter to do more than simply voting to the right of Jimmy Dean Sausage in the Senate to win his nomination.
In any event, it doesn’t look like Vitter will be allowed to put his “personal problem” behind him any time soon. And in a state that loves its politics down and dirty, the 2010 Senate contest could ultimately rival the “race from Hell”–the infamous 1991 Louisiana gubernatorial runoff between Ed Edwards and David Duke–for sheer weirdness.

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