LA-Sen: Melancon to Challenge Vitter

Looks like we can already add a new name to the House Open Seat Watch:

While he is not ready to make a public announcement, John Maginnis reports Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-LA) has decided to run for the U.S. Senate. Sources say he “he has told national Democratic campaign officials” he will challenge Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) in 2010.

“While Melancon earlier this year seemed to have ruled out running, a renewed press by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, armed with a poll showing Vitter’s vulnerability, got Melancon to reconsider.”

This is a tremendous get for the DSCC, though of course holding Melancon’s R+12 seat in LA-03 will probably be an extreme challenge.

UPDATE (James): Melancon is staying mum, but he says that he will be making a formal announcement “in the coming weeks”.

RaceTracker: LA-Sen | LA-03

126 thoughts on “LA-Sen: Melancon to Challenge Vitter”

  1. Vitter just got a lot more vulnerable.  As I posted in different thread, this is really a no-brianer on Melancon’s part.    

  2. it’s worth the risk to trade that seat for the Cao seat and a chance for the Vitter Senate seat any day.  

  3. Cajuns are just very racist.

    Well, I suspect we could see State Senate President Joel Chaisson, who was put in his position by Bobby Jindall in a move that reached out to Democrats, could run for this district. He represents very conservative St. Charles Parish, even Landrieu lost it by about 6 points.

    Former State Senator Reginald Dupre from conservative Houma could run, he’d also be an ideal candidate, or D.A. Gautreux, maybe even Troy Hebert. We’ll see, those are just some prominent state senators in the area who might want to move up.

  4. but melancon is a dream candidate and we simply don’t know what the environment will be next year.

    there are some things that will be in melancon’s favor:

    1) he’s a respected moderate

    2) vitter’s hooker/diaper experiences have made him vulnerable – either to a primary or a serious democrat

    3) if melancon is only single digits behind as a congressman representing 1/7th of the state against a senator elected statewide, i’d say that’s a great position to be in.  i’d imagine melancon’s positives/negatives are much better than the philanderer.

    4) he’ll have no trouble raising big money

    here’s what’s in vitter’s favor:

    1) he’s a republican

    2) he’s an incumbent

    Is Melancon the favorite? No.  But it sure looks like a good race to me.

  5. Vitter’s done a decent job of staying afloat since the scandal (it helps how much time has passed), but it’s something that a strong opponent could make hay from.  Beyond that, attack him as an extremist who’s not getting things done for his constituents.

  6. Shocking. I didnt think the Democrats would find anybody strong against Vitter. I think the race still Leans Republican though given LA’s GOP tilt recently.  

  7. each other defeatists for not thinking we can win certain races.  We aren’t here to be cheerleaders for our party, thats what DailyKos, MYDD, Openleft, SG, etc. are for.

    I consider all of us kind-of-like pundits here and it isnt defeatism to look at a race, look at all the variables and to come to a conclusion we wont be winning that race.  Id rather be an insanely intelligent blog where we can be realistic about our chances rather than a blog full of idiots like Redstate who think they can win every race.  (God they love Toomey…..)

  8. It’s been mentioned on Political Wire; I’m surprised no one here has brought it up.

    Regardless of whether Melancon wins, it’s clear that his challenge will be strong enough that the NRSC will have to put some money up in Louisiana.  Every dollar spent defending Vitter is a dollar not spent defeating Dodd or electing Castle.

  9. We have a 58 vote buffer in the house when all we need is 50% +1 to pass anything… One seat does not matter.  Anyone says that this house seat is too important is wrong if we have a sure thing in Deleware and Louisiana already coming our way.  

    What district does State Senator Eric LaFluer live in?  He was sniffing around a senate run beforehand.  

  10. Does anyone know if there is still a runoff in Lousiana if a candidate gets under 50%. Also do not count Melancon out yet. Louisiana has always had 2 democratic senators until Vitter came along and he only avoided a runnoff because Bush’s coat tails. In addition, voters have made it clear that in statewide elections other than president, many time they feel more comfortable voting for a conservative democrat rather than a republican. Thats how people like Kathleen Blanco (who actually defeated Bobby Jindal) and Mary Landrieu got elected.

  11. I just called the Secretary of States office in Louisiana. Even though the jungle primary is gone, they still do have a runoff election between the top two candidates if one does not get 50% of the vote. So maybe we do have a chance at this thing.

  12. he said that he really did not see his legislative goals being a priority in the House and would probably have an easier time in the Senate.  He did say his daughter really did not want him to run, though.

  13. David Vitter is a TERRIBLE Senator and deserves to lose and I welcome any top tier challenger to him especially a Democratic challenger but really I would be okay with him losing to a Republican challenger (let me be clear I’d prefer the D option.)

    Sure LA is tougher politically than it was pre-Katrina/ pre-Obama backlash, but I think their still exists enough of a Democratic coalition to win the state with the right candidate like Melancon. That’s part of the reason why I think we can take back the governor’s mansion there if Jindal bails for a quixotic run for President.  

  14. Moving LA to the left requires strong candidates to run.  Giving Vitter a token challenge would be to write off the state.  Giving him a strong challenge will be good for us down ballot, good to try and hold Melancon’s seat, good all the way around.

    And this is especially important since we lost chances in Arizona, Kansas and Iowa to pick up seats and divert Rep resources.  

    “Oh, it is too hard to make social change” is not a good argument.

  15. can win or come really close. At the very least Vitter will have a challenge at his hands.

    This probably means we lose the seat in the House. But I’ll take it.  

  16. but I’m disappointed. At best we gain a Senator who will be on the right edge of the Democratic caucus. At worst we lose a House seat that we’ll never get back.

  17. Melancon has no chance against Vitter and Louisiana just lost one of its most powerful congressmen. I’, really suprised and I know quite a few insiders are really suprised.

    But you have no knowlege of Louisiana if you think this was a no brain, Melancon’s district is not likely to be the one eliminated asd you suggested and he’s fairly safe there.

    Holding won’t be too hard, but the NOLA suburbs are still problem. My redistricting pushed it further out into Cajun country making it a surer thing for Democrats.

    At least is doesn’t contain Kenner anymore.

  18. against Vitter” perhaps you can expound considering Mary Landrieu proved last year that moderate and conservative Democrats can run here, win, and remain quite popular once elected.

  19. Uphill battle for sure but obviously Melancon wouldn’t be doing this without some possibility of success.

  20. “Give liberals even more than a filibuster-proof majority!”

    Is that Charlie’s message?  Rephrased as a warning it sure will be Vitter’s message, and that’s just icing on the cake because Vitter would win anyway.

    The timing of Vitter’s scandal break couldn’t have been better for him.  He’s got years to recover politically, and recover he has.  That’s life in a one-sided state; Vitter is conservative in a conservative state, and they won’t kick him out for someone on his left.

  21. and Landrieu was running against an unprincipled party-switcher who she outspent 2:1 and as a two term incumbent won by only six points.

    Melancon cannot win because people will swallow their breath and vote for Vitter to “check” Obama and Democrats, its fairly obvious that’s the only thing that can happen. The black vote will be much lower than in 2008, and what’s left is a strongly conservative, anti-Obama vote that will vote for Vitter even if they don’t really care for him. Early polls have already showed Melancon about 6-9 points behind already. It would have made much more sense if Democrats could have gotten someone not already in congress and helping LA to run, like Chris John or Don Cazayoux.

  22. We’re a year and a half out from this thing. That’s many, many lifetimes in American politics. The facts you present very well may be true, but I think it’s waaaaay too early to call this one.

  23. I really like Cazayoux.  I’m hoping he goes in for a rematch, this time without Michael Jackson screwing things up for him.

  24. especially considering Melancon wasn’t even in the race at that time. Sorry, I don’t buy the check on Obama and Democrats as a good enough reason to carry Vitter to re-election next year.

    Likewise, the other reasons you gave–lower black turnout and a strongly conservative anti-Obama will have little effect on Melancon and his ability to win here.

    This race is a tossup now, and the first poll done on the race after Melancon announces will prove me right. So too will subsequent ones.

    As long as Melancon runs a good race and raises a lot of money, he will win this seat.

  25. We lose Melancon’s seat, and Vitter crushes Melancon.

    Methinks some Democrats don’t realize how conservative Louisiana really is these days.  Katrina devastated the Democratic base, literally, by sending a lot of our most loyal voters to other states.  And a statewide seat in Louisiana was tough for us before Katrina.

    Landrieu’s example only proves my point because she was a 2-term incumbent with no personal or political scandal running in what nationally was a strong Democratic year, and still she got just 52% and won by 6 points.

    If the Vitter scandal broke, say, a week or two before his own reelection, then sure he’d be toast because it would be fresh in everyone’s mind.  But Louisiana is sooooo conservative that too many voters bounce back from initial disgust to their wingnut voting habits when given enough time…and the several years Vitter has had to recover is far more than enough time.

    I suppose at least Vitter has to spend money on this, and maybe we make the RSCC drop some coin here, too, but even the small benefit of making the RSCC spend here is no guarantee since I can easily see Vitter holding 20ish-point polling leads the entire time through election day.

  26. who is to say he’s not right?

    Louisiana needs help.  NOLA is still recovering from Katrina.  He runs on a platform of “I’ll be a centrist in the majority while Vitter will be an extremist in the minority”, then he’s got a fighting chance.

    Honestly, defeatism helps no one here.  I think Vitter will eventually lose, not necessarily because of the scandal but because a.) Melancon is a good politician and b.) Melancon can make the case that he’ll better serve Louisiana.

  27. I defer to your superior knowledge of Louisiana politics, but I’d like to point out that some of the recent Senatorial winners have surprised many people. You’ve gotta be in it to win it, and right now, additional Democratic senators are much more needed than additional Democratic representative. I can’t help think about the seemingly low-chance campaigns of Barack Obama, too, or the time when people called the Democratic presidential field “the Smurfs” and thought there was no chance anyone could defeat the popular war hero, George HW Bush.

  28. It sounds like he’s gonna doing the U.S. Attorney thing right now, though. Maybe in 2012, when A.A. turnout will be higher.

  29. Maybe it’s because I’m romantic about Louisiana (I’ve read everything about Huey Long I’ve been able to get my hands on), but I think a centrist Democrat has a chance, especially if he can make the case that Vitter, because of the PROSTITUTION and extremism, is a poor advocate for Louisiana.  Don’t frame it in an overtly partisan or ideological way.  Simply say “I will better represent you, because I have a history of fighting for you done while Vitter has a history of selling you out.”

  30. …his re-election to the house is not a sure thing, neither is him surviving redirecting. He got a free pass in 2008. He is NOT a powerful member of the house, he is a sophomore member.  Cao’s seat will go back to D anyway.  Anti-Obama sentiment will be strong in a +R12 district, at LEAST to the same level as the state as a whole.  

    Even if Melancon won in 2010, he would be vulnerable to redirecting or just a straight out loss in 2012 too.  Win once, and he doesn’t have to worry about it until 2016.

    Ensign’s troubles only remind LA of Vitter’s problems, plus Stormy Daniels is in the race as a reminder too.

    This is indeed a no-brainer.  He did the right thing.    

  31.   And yet it still does.  When swing voters go to vote, most of the time they think about the two candidates on the ballot and that’s all.  They don’t try to balance their ticket with Democrats and Republicans.

  32. Odd defeatism.

    Melancon is perfectly suited to this challenge, the timing is as good as it ever can be.  If Vitter wins, we have him forever, now is the time to go after him.

    One house seat is meaningless compared to challenging an incumbent with a nickname of “Diaper”… especially since the seat will be either eliminated or impacted by redistricting.

    he’d be the dope of all time if he didn’t challenge a guy named Diaper, and then lost in 2012 in a redrawn district.

  33. The ad where he asked people to pronounce his name:  classic.

    He seems to be a genuinely good guy, and a natural at connecting with people.  Cassidy won with 48%.  I think Cazayoux can take it back.

  34. As long as the democrats pass public option healthcare, and stay away from divisive gun issues. Let’s also remember that Louisiana voted for the Clinton twice, and then voted for Bush by a large margin to punish the democrats for Clinton’s blowjob. I doubt Vitter will have an effect on other races, but a man who wears diapers while screwing whores isn’t gonna be reelected easily in a very socially conservative state.

  35. its fairly left-wing district and it more than the state is reliably Democratic. Its not trending Republican, just racist. Melancon was unopposed in 2008, his district wasn’t going anywhere nor was he likely to be the seat on the cutting board, especially with Democrats in control of the State Senate.

  36. Was mentioned awhile ago in some local papers (SSP even reported on it) so I’d have to guess he’ll be in.  Either way, Melancon knew he was going to be in for a tough fight.  It’s not that different from Mike Castle’s situation in Delaware – if you know you’re going to be in a hard-fought election next cycle, why not go for Senate?  And in Melancon’s case, he’s not a dinosaur like Castle is.

    I think this race is too far out to be called one way or another – right now it’s a toss-up.  Vitter is (a) in his first term (b) tainted by scandal and (c) hasn’t really done anything for Louisianans other than spout off GOP talking points occasionally.  That makes for a vulnerable incumbent, esp. against an established Congressman.  Melancon can present himself as a John Breaux-type of Democrat who has a history of getting stuff done for Louisiana.  I’m not saying this is a slam dunk, but I think it is awfully presumptuous to assume this race is a “no-win” this early.  Not even Larry Sabato or Charlie Cook would make such a prediction.

  37. I’m surprised.  I know there are plenty of conservative Dems in Louisiana, but a conservative district in a year when conservatives have something to run against, and moderates and liberals don’t, is a tough hold in my book.

  38. only because he’s the incumbent and Melancon hasn’t even announced yet.

    But I’m anticipating Melancon running a good race and raising a lot of money. In the end, Melancon is a better fit for the state than Vitter. Let’s see what future polling shows.

  39. Don’t make me laugh. That would have been no challenge for Melancon, completely different than Castle’s position. I doubt Wilely could even win it in an open seat, especialy with Billy Tauzin Jr. and former state senator and challenger Craiq Romero both hoping to get in another shot at it he’s not even for sure the Republican candidate.

  40. This is still Louisiana we are talking about. Polling hasn’t exactly been terrible for Vitter – not even his favorables seem to have suffered much. And 2010 is not going to be anything like 2006 and 2008 which saw the state go right while the rest of the country moved left. That being said Melancon must have some seen some internal polling that interests him. Though I think it will be tough I agree that the strategy you outline above could work. For the moment I’m still putting this behind NC with Republican retention narrowly the most likely outcome.  

  41. 6-9 points down against an incumbent,when you haven’t even ANNOUNCED, is DAMN GOOD territory to be in. Hell, most people in LA probably have no clue who Melancon is.

    Melancon may be the most powerful member form LA, but that is just because he is in the majority.  He is not indespensible for political/pork reasons, and if the GOP takes the senate, he will be walking the plank, trust me.    

  42. LA voters havent defeated an incumbent Senator since Reconstruction as well?  (Waits for ArkDemRagin)  If so, I rest my case.

  43. With a credible D opponent now in the race, the R’s that passed on this race might reconsider thinking that Vitter would lose to a D, but another R would not.  

  44. redistricting so yours is a moot point.

    6-9 points down when you’re already a hyped candidate and high profile congressman isn’t too great either, I feel like it’ll just stay that way the entire time.

  45. The R2K poll from March had interesting internals. While Vitter was in positive favorable territory by a 49-42 margin, just 9% failed to express an opinion. For Melancon his favorables were a net positive of 43-18 but 39% failed to express an opinion. That to me suggests plenty of room to grow in cutting down the seven point topline deficit.

  46. He is one of 7 house members with no seniority to speak of and no campaign last time out.  Do you think the folks in the other 6 districts even know his name?  The average joe is not a politics geek. The Hype is on this forum, not in real life, and YET he is within single digits. Translation: LA doesn’t like Vitter.

    The GOP would have to pick up 4 of 39 senate seats to take control.  That doesn’t sound impossible to me.  

  47. especially with them holding vulnerable seats in south Louisiana and a usually Democratic seat based on Nachodotches. They picked up their best targets in 2007, a four seat gain is highly improbable.

  48. but I live in Louisiana and am from here so that makes it impossible to be optimistic.

    Heck growing up in Lafayette all my friend’s parents were insane, truly, what man starts yelling at a 9 year old about sucking babies out of a woman and rolling them into a bloody ball and throwing them in a trashcan? Either that or they were tinfoil hat weirdos.  

  49. You should check out the Kos diary on this where most aren’t impressed. Melancon is conservative. End of story. No thanks. What a joke!

  50. on that point. I think what commenters are referring to in this post isn’t defeatism. It’s just bad analysis.

    Here ArkDem is simply wrong to assume this race is unwinnable from the start. Analyzing all the variables in this race, it’s clear that Melancon definitely has a chance to win. Coming to a different conclusion doesn’t mean his motives are wrong.    

  51. and when one looks at a race which polling shows a sitting US Congressman down by less than 10 points before he even announces while 39% of the electorate says they don’t know him, to claim he has no chance is simply a defeatist attitude.  No ways around that.  

    There is no possible way to look at a senate race that won’t be decided until November of 2010 in June of 2009 and say that there is no way Melancon can win.  

    I wouldn’t have told you that Webb was going to beat Allen until Allen flubbed up and I wouldn’t have told you that Carol Shea Porter or Nancy Boyda would win either.  

    I agree that one can say you don’t think the chances are very good…but to unequivocally state that Melancon can’t win is defeatist.  

  52. I agree entirely! For all that DailyKos people talked about a “fact-based community,” the real fact-based community is here. To hear a lot of the cheerleaders at DK tell it, the Democrats have a chance to win every race anytime. And that’s just stupid.

  53. Republicans abandoned New Mexico and Colorado last year because they were getting spread too thin in Senate races.  If we can lock them down in North Carolina and Louisiana this coming election, I imagine they will bail from Ohio and Missouri faster.

  54. Castle’s name was included for rhetorical purposes; it sounded smoother with two names.  The point is that this stretches the GOP further.

  55. I really work hard to fight the misconception that Katrina devestated Democrats. 90% of the black voters are still in state.  I’m skeptical because the rural northeastern part of the state is so conservative and the oil booms are making many areas of South Louisiana conservative.

    Landrieu, people need to realize, is just not that well liked, about 43% of the state has an irrational hate of her and will never vote for her.

    I’m not as pessimistic as you, for instance I very much doubt Democrats will lose Melancon’s seat and I also very much doubt Vitter will get a double digit lead out of this thing, but I’m pessimistic on Melancon’s chances.

  56. Vitter holding 20ish point polling leads the entire time through election day.”

    This would require him to get 60 percent in polling. Don’t know what could cause his approval ratings to jump that high at this point in time. He won’t get anywhere near 60 percent, and as long as he’s matched up against Mealncon he’ll be lucky to get 50 percent in polling the remainder of the race.

    Also, curious to know how much “Vitter crushes Melancon” by next year.  

  57. there is a difference betwen a tough hold and a definet loss.  I think its very possible that we hold the seat.  

    Not to say that we can’t lose.  

  58. And for real family values, law and order and being able to deliver more for Louisiana as part of the national majority party. Granted, that isn’t easy but neither is it impossible

  59. Vitter has all the wind at his back. This is a state where he can run against Democrats and OBama and with Dmeocrats more and more likely to expand their majority by at least 4 seats he has a great argument. I guess you could assume another scandal, but as Edwin Edwards said the only way an incumbent will ever lose is if he’s caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy, and Vitter was only caught in bed with a live girl, so not quite good enough.

    Crunching the numbers and looking at the state county-by-county, I don’t see how Melancon can win at this early point and the early polling certainly doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for confidence.

  60. you may have given up, the the Democratic party clearly hasn’t.  

    This is now one of the top 10 races for the Dems and another place Repubs have to spend money to defend a scandal clad incumbent.  

    Make this race national news and remind everyone that, along with Ensign, Republicans are the party of hypocrisy and that they are not in a better positions to legislate the morality that the religious right wants them too.  

  61. Most users refused to support Landrieu and one kept irrationally blaming her for the levy failure and arguing with me when I pointed out the levels of blame were, a Bush for cutting maintaince funding, b, the corrupt and completely ineffectual and incompetent NOLA levy board, c, Ray Nagin who didn’t fullfill his mayoral responsibilities, and d, FEMA for a poor response and bad preparations, and e, Blanco and the State Government for not being prepared or anticipating stopping such a disater.

  62. for a potential seat in the Senate that’s far from a sure thing?  Vitter may be a dirtbag, but he has the (R) behind his name, and Louisiana has definitely swung to the right of the political spectrum this decade, so he has the advantage.  

    However, I do believe we should get the best candidates for the US Senate, and IMO Melancon may be our best candidate.  I don’t know if he is or not.  Cazayoux and John have both lost elections in the last 5 years, and I don’t know if they would be electable in a state contest.  

    Looking at this race, for some reason I think of Ronnie Musgrove, who was a fairly conservative Democrat that lost in Mississipi last year by 10%.  A Democrat may be a conservative/centrist, but it’s still an uphill battle.

  63. The story never mentioned Wiley primarying Melancon.  Nicki Monica is running against Melancon for the House next cycle and she will be a legit GOP contender.  For someone whose supposed to be on their Louisiana politics I thought you’d know that

  64. was running as a Republican, he hails from Ascension Parish. And Nickie Monica is a man, not a woman, and eve so as an open seat I doubt he’ll be hte Republican candidate. I’m stilling hoping Joel Chaisson will run, he’d be the best candidate, but either way Democrats have hte early advantage on this open seat.

  65. His wealth and desire to help Katrina refugees and those who returned to his district in southeast Louisiana, I think, ensure this is a competitive fight.  He’s terribly beloved in South Lousiana according to a friend of mine from New Orleans.  So, I’m not so sure about the naysayers.  I’m interested in another district, though.  In a district that gave us Chris John and John Breaux, do we really not have a moderate conservative white Dem to step up to the plate?  Has LA-07 really changed that much demographically since the mid to late 90s?  It’s not a Katrina district and Cajun Country really is Democratic, if in a culturally conservative, rural, sorta way.

  66. last time I checked.  And I was surprised too that Wiley was listed as a Democrat but that’s what was reported.  Either way, life as a Congressman in an R 12+ district is no fun, and if you gotta fight, might as well fight up than to keep your job.  Jim Gerlach in PA is another example.  Point being, I feel as though Melancon’s people did the math and realized that while it would be harder to take out Vitter than staying put, it was worth it to make the bid relative to the time and effort.  Plus, I have the feeling that Melancon’s seat would be the type to fall to a Republican at the first sign of a wave year (probably not 2010, but party successes are cyclical and the GOP will make a comeback at some point).  Why not take on a first-term Senator when you have the chance?

  67. Democrats have a pretty solid majaority in the house right now and there are seats that can be contested to expand that.  Jefferson’s old seat comes to mind.  Not to mention that we’re hearing that this seat shouldn’t be as hard to hold as the PVI would make us believe.  

    Melancon seems to be the only candidate that can really give Vitter a run and the Democrats most certaintly want to try that so they can solidify their chances in places like NH and keep NRSC money away from Dodd.  

    The more places they play defense…the fewer places they play offense.  

  68. quite well because I live here too. Most Dems I know here haven’t given up on beating Melancon. I’m tied closely with the state party. And, I’m confident they know what they’re doing in trying to take out Vitter.

    I think if I’m having to convince people that Vitter is beatable that the analysis disseminated is not good.

    You’re not going to convince me Vitter is unbeatable, and apparently I’m not going to convince you Melancon can win. The good news is that we have almost a year and a half of polling to prove our points. Maybe we can finally agree that early polling sure to be produced shortly is the best way to settle this argument.

  69. Mike Castle isn’t a powerful member of the house because he’s the senior member from Deleware, he is because he’s been there forever.  In Wyoming, Cynthia Lummins isn’t a powerful member of the house because she’s the most senior member of Wyoming.  Maybe in comparison to the rest of the delegation he is one of the strongest, but that isn’t saying much and a little decieving if anything.  

  70. number of open seats or the political climate of 2011, it is a big stretch to make that statement.  How many seats changed hands in 2007?  

  71. I’m always leery of Southern districts that might have a local Democratic bent but are really more in line ideologically with the national GOP.  We got snakebit by that in the 90’s.  I do know the national GOP made a big fuss about going after Melancon; I figured they must know something and wouldn’t be stupid enough to toss money and effort down a hold that won’t produce any results.

  72. But regardless of what I think his chances are, I’m still quite happy he’s in the race.

  73. How I look at it:

    If Melancon runs for re-election in the House, he probably has a 95+% chance to win.  If he resigns, the Democrat running in his place would have a lower chance to win.  I don’t know by how much (depending on the Democratic and Republican candidates), but there is an increased risk that we would lose a seat if Melancon doesn’t run.  

    At the same time, if Melancon runs against Vitter (which he has entered the race), he probably fighting an uphill battle that, to me, is reminiscent of Ronnie Musgrove in Mississipi.  Although Vitter has a major character flaw, I don’t know if it’s large enough to defeat him, especially with an argument such as “re-elect me or the Dems will expand their large majority”.

    Notice in my original post that I stated that IMO Melancon may be our best candidate.  I’m not stating that he shouldn’t run, I’m just pointing out the potential risk IF he runs.  I’m sure Melancon and his advisors have looked at the same issues, and obviously they are satisfied that it is worth the risk.  I personally hope he beats the hell out of Vitter.  At the same time, we should look at any candidate (and not be politically dishonest) and identify the potential downfall from their entrance into a race.

  74. that has been argued by cook and sabato and rothenberg since the scandal broke for the obvious reasons that he

    a) had a scandal

    b) is a first termer

    if we had not run a decent candidate, we would lose for sure – and have left a good opportunity on the table.  a senate seat is a terrible thing to waste.

    again it doesn’t make melancon a favorite but the same way the GOP should be running against Dodd even in a deep blue state, we should be running against vitter in a deep red state.

  75. This was party-switcher Billy Tauzin’s home district both before and after he went to the GOP.  It also contains much of Jefferson Parish, which produced GOPer David Treen (who I mistakenly thought was from Metarie). Not a single Republican before Treen until the 1880s, though.

  76. Musgrove was previously defeated statewide and Roger Wicker was scandal-free. Melancon has room to grow being a Congressman and doesn’t have the loser tag. And no need for ticket splitters as in MS last year without a presidential race.

  77. Totally agree with you that this comparison is a bit “apples to oranges” without further clarification.  My main thought is that Louisiana has become as conservative as Mississipi.

    Now the part about Wicker being scandal free is also very valid.  He hasn’t been found with a diaper or an escort service, so he doesn’t have the character issue like Vitter has.  I just don’t know how much this really will hurt Vitter in 2010.  It almost seems like Vitter has been given a free pass.  I hope it comes back to bite him, but I just don’t know if its a big enough problem to cause him to be defeated.  Hopefully I’m way off the mark on this.  I’m just trying to be pragmatic and realistic about Melancon’s chances.  

  78. might be high, when 39% of people do not know enough about him to form an opinion, then there is room for Melancon’s support to grow. If you believe we should hold his house seat ( granted I think we all agree that it will be harder to hold now that it is an open seat), then why is it not good for us to have Melancon run for the Senate. If we do not go for the seat now, we are not going to be able to win it for who knows how long. Melancon is someone we could build the party around and given the recent trends in Louisiana that is what we need.

  79. do you think it would be easier to beat Jindal??  I certainly don’t. The OTHER seat is already held by a D.  If the LA dems want to seriously contest something statewide anytime soon, it is this or nothing.  

    Those questions are directed at Ragin’ not publius.

    You can’t let opportunities like this go by and expect to be taken seriously as a party.

    Let’s not forget Vitter has only won statewide ONCE, with a whooping 51% in 2004 on Bush’s coattails.  This guy is no powerhouse in my eyes.  

  80. The arguments against runnign don’t make any sense.  He’s competitive right now… without Stormy Daniels humiliating Vitter for months, without running a campaign, without the economy recovering yet, etc.

    Giving up an R+12 seat that will be, at best, greatly altered by redistricting, is a clear no-brainer.  he has everything to gain and nothing to lose (except two years waiting to get executed in 2012).

    Very nice news.  Vitter soiled his diaper today.

  81. What’s your evidence that the reason Louisiana – like every other Southern state except (ahem!) Florida – voted against Al Gore was to punish Bill Clinton (who wasn’t running) for lying about a blowjob, rather than because the 2000 version of Gore was too liberal for them? Absent actual evidence, my feeling is that Louisiana is probably the LAST place in the country that would punish personal indiscretions.

  82. Versus the rest of the state. There are a lot of socially conservative Dems running around Louisiana.  New Orleans and parts of Baton Rouge might not care (hell, Stormy Daniels might get some New Orleans votes because of being a porn star), but the rest of the state is still Deep South and maybe even more socially right-leaning.

  83. They’ve switched to a traditional primary/general system, except in state races.

  84. I think we can hold it regardless of the numbers Obama received there. It’s ancestrally Democratic only flipping with the conversion of long-time Congressman Billy Tauzen but then going back in the D direction after he left.  

  85. I could see it combined with LA 07 or LA 06 which could make it decent for Democrats in 2012.

  86. Methinks, not.  Rodney Alexander, for one,  has been in Congress longer.  If you mean senior Democratic congressman, yes, he has seniority over Cao, big whoops!  Your point?  Especially if you argue that Melancon’s seniority helps his constituency in the House of Representatives, but not in the Senate??

    Not living in the South, I don’t pretend to know how the Louisiana political mind works, but I can certainly surmise that running as a progressive/liberal won’t cut it.  Melancon does not appear to be in that mold, and would be able to argue that he can be more than just an obstructionist and get Louisiana needs addressed.

  87. Rereading my comment, I did not mean to imply that Cao was a Democrat, just that his district is very Democratic. Mea culpa.

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