Video: Vitter running for governor in Louisiana
posted at 3:08 pm on January 22, 2014 by Ed Morrissey
From sex scandal to the chief executive of a state? Give David Vitter credit — he did this in the right order, unlike Eliot Spitzer:
Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), a potential 2016 presidential candidate, is term-limited, and Vitter is considered the favorite to replace him. But Vitter faces another statewide officeholder — Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne (R) — and could face a second one in state Treasurer John Kennedy (R).
On the Democratic side, state Rep. John Bel Edwards is running, but all eyes are on New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and whether he runs after his 2014 reelection campaign. Landrieu faces a primary in the coming weeks but is heavily favored to retain his current post.
Vitter is only a few years removed from being tied to a Washington prostitution scandal. Polls suggest he has recovered politically, and he easily won reelection in 2010.
Sean Sullivan thinks his scandal is too far in the past to be a problem now:
On the luck side, timing had a lot to do with it. The Post’s Paul Kane took a deeper dive into Vitter’s career arc last year. As Kane reported, the fact that 1) Vitter didn’t have to go before voters until 3 1/2 years after the “D.C. Madam” revelation and 2) The year he did was a banner one for Republicans fueled by deep unhappiness with President Obama helped him a keep a job that may well have slipped away under less favorable circumstances.
Vitter did his part to keep a low profile as he worked his way back and cooperated with Democrats once he was. Plus, it certainly didn’t hurt that charges never materialized. …
There’s no one recipe for dealing with scandal. Every case is unique. But what Vitter’s survival shows is that time is often a scandal-plagued pol’s best friend. And what an incumbent does with the time before voters get to pass judgement on them at the ballot box can prove to be critical.
It’s possible the “D.C. Madam” story could surface again in Vitter’s campaign for governor. Opponents might be tempted to raise the issue in a heated race. But such kinds of attacks probably won’t have anywhere near the potency they would have had in the immediate wake of the scandal.
We’ll see. The only potential fly in the ointment I can see is the off-year election date. Louisiana’s elections are usually national-interest stories because nothing much else is going on at the time. If so, then his scandal is going to get dissected on a national basis all over again, and Vitter — and the GOP — better hope there’s nothing more to be found.