Back in October the voters of Louisiana held their non-partisan primary for the governor’s race and the results, as usual, failed to produce anyone with a clear majority of support. That sent the two top finishers to the final runoff election on November 21st. In this case that means that Senator David Vitter is representing the Republicans and John Bel Edwards will carry the Democrats’ standard. The third place finisher left out in the cold was the Lt. Governor, Republican Jay Dardenne. It seems that Jay isn’t much for the whole “graceful in defeat” school of thought though, because this week he came out and endorsed the Democrat. (Washington Post)
Jay Dardenne, a defeated candidate for governor of Louisiana, has endorsed a Democratic rival for the job over fellow Republican David Vitter. In a news conference this morning at Louisiana State University, Dardenne called Democrat John Bel Edwards a “pro-life, pro-gun” candidate, as apt for the job as Vitter was unthinkable.
Edwards “knows that fear, intimidation and vindictiveness are the enemies of putting Louisiana forward,” Dardenne, the state’s outgoing lieutenant governor, said…
As the New York Times recalls, the primary race was nasty from the beginning.
During the primary Mr. Dardenne and another Republican, Scott Angelle, a public service commissioner, bristled at attacks from the Vitter campaign and, as the weeks went on, gave as good as they got. While Mr. Vitter accused both of being loose-spending liberals, Mr. Dardenne and Mr. Angelle both accused Mr. Vitter of lying and explicitly talked of his 2007 prostitution scandal, in which Mr. Vitter admitted only to a “very serious sin.”
Politics is never intended to be softball, but this is one of the nastier races in recent memory. Dardenne isn’t just throwing Vitter under the bus… he’s going after Bobby Jindal as having damaged the Republican brand and knocking just about everyone else currently in office. The responses from the other side are equally rough and tumble. The state GOP chair is comparing Dardenne to Nick Saban, the LSU coach who moved to the University of Alabama and is widely viewed as a traitor to the state. Reince Priebus got in on the action as well, treating the endorsement as a “betrayal” of the cause and linking the Lt. Governor to Barack Obama.
All of this may be for naught, though. Louisiana has been solidly in the red column for decades, but at this point Jindal’s numbers are so far in the tank that he can’t see the surface anymore and Edwards is leading Vitter in the polls by a wide margin. Only six months ago I never would have dreamed I’d be saying this, but Louisiana may be about to elect a Democrat to their highest office. We’ve lived to see interesting times indeed.