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Democrat John Bel Edwards And Republican David Vitter Advance In LA Governor's Race

Vitter's recent troubles didn't prevent him from making his way onto the ballot for the Louisiana governor's race.
Democrat John Bel Edwards And Republican David Vitter Advance In LA Governor's Race
Image from: The Times-Picayune photos by Ted Jackson, left, and David Grunfeld, right

Vitter's recent troubles didn't prevent him from making his way onto the ballot for the Louisiana governor's race. These so-called "values voters" sure don't seem to mind the hypocrisy from one of their own much, do they?

Scandal-Plagued Vitter Makes It To Runoff For Louisiana Governor:

Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter survived challenges Saturday from two GOP rivals who called his years-old prostitution scandal a stain on Louisiana, reaching a runoff against Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards in the governor's race.

The Nov. 21 runoff will decide who follows Republican presidential hopeful Gov. Bobby Jindal into office, the winner inheriting leadership of a state mired in financial problems that both candidates blame on the term-limited governor. Jindal is now waging a long-shot campaign for the presidential nomination.

While Edwards always seemed assured of a runoff spot, Vitter bested two other major Republicans to secure his position on the November ballot, eclipsing Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle and Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne.

And the race was tighter than Vitter had hoped, with Edwards taking 40 percent of the primary vote and Vitteradvancing with 23 percent, according to unofficial returns. Read on...

UPDATE: Here's more on Vitter's latest fiasco from the NYTs:

For months Mr. Vitter was seen as the front-runner, but over the summer his lead steadily disintegrated. While Mr. Vitter and the political action committee that supported him were quick to attack rising Republican competitors — Scott Angelle, a public safety commissioner, and Jay Dardenne, the lieutenant governor — the “anybody but Vitter” movement seemed to have coalesced behind Mr. Angelle in the waning days of the primary campaign. With 1.1 million votes in, Mr. Angelle was trailing Mr. Vitter by about 40,000 votes.

“David Vitter was the textbook-perfect candidate,” said John Couvillon, a pollster in Baton Rouge. “He was well funded, he was very well known and he should have, by all rights, have been a strong front-runner. There’s a disconnect there.”

The fundamentals still favor Mr. Vitter in the runoff; there is no Democrat left in Louisiana holding statewide office. But with most of the votes counted, Mr. Vitter was trailing Mr. Edwards by nearly 17 percentage points. This underperformance may be due in part to the re-emergence of the 2007 revelations that Mr. Vitter had been involved with prostitutes and to the bizarre developments in the final 48-hour stretch of the primary.

↓ Story continues below ↓

The political world was astonished Friday night when news emerged that a private investigator conducting opposition research for the Vitter campaign was arrested in the New Orleans suburbs. The arrest arose from an almost comical sequence of events beginning at a cafe in Jefferson Parish called the Royal Blend, where a group of older men routinely gather to talk local business. That morning the group included the parish sheriff, Newell Normand; a Republican state senator; a prominent attorney who supports Democratic causes; and a private investigator and former New Orleans police officer.

According to Sheriff Normand, some in the group noticed a man who appeared to be filming their conversation with a small camera. When the man was confronted, he left the cafe and took off through the surrounding backyards. After a brief search, sheriff’s deputies found him hiding behind an air-conditioning unit. He was charged with criminal mischief, a misdemeanor.

As it turns out, the man, Robert J. Frenzel, was employed by a Dallas-based investigative firm that had been hired by the Vitter campaign for opposition research. The sheriff’s office obtained warrants to search Mr. Frenzel’s rental car, but officials noticed through the windshield that he had some research concerning Jason Berry, an investigative blogger who two weeks ago published video interviews with a woman who claimed to have had a multiyear affair with Mr. Vitter when she worked as an escort in New Orleans. The credibility of her account has been challenged in some significant ways, and the Vitter campaign has dismissed it as having “zero legitimacy.”

“I don’t know what the guy was after,” Sheriff Normand said of Mr. Frenzel. “Obviously he was fairly amateurish.”

Mr. Frenzel declined to comment Saturday night. A spokesman for the Vitter campaign acknowledged that the campaign had hired the investigative firm, denied that Mr. Frenzel had done anything illegal and explained that he had been looking into a “business associate and major donor” to Mr. Edwards, apparently referring to John Cummings, who was with the sheriff at the cafe.

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