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. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.  

  6. 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…..)

  7. 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.

  8. 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.  

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.  

  13. 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.

  14. 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.  

  15. 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.

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