Since Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana is term-limited, there will be a rather crowded Republican primary to succeed him in 2015. Senator David Vitter announced today that he would throw his hat into the ring, and most observers of the Louisiana political scene seem to think he immediately became the front-runner.
In Vitter’s announcement video, he says a great deal of “thought, prayer, and discussion” with his wife Wendy and their children went into his decision, and if he wins, his political career will conclude when his term as Governor is done.
As the Associated Press notes, the gubernatorial run carries little risk for Vitter, because he doesn’t have to give up his Senate seat. He was re-elected to a second Senate term in 2010. The AP takes a look at the current state of the race:
Others who have said they will run for governor include: Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and state Rep. John Bel Edwards, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. GOP Treasurer John Kennedy also has said he is considering entering the race.
Pearson Cross, head of the Department of Politics, Law and International Relations at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette said Vitter “poses a major problem for the other Republican contenders in this race.”
“David Vitter has incredible name recognition and just won his last statewide election with nearly 60 percent of the vote,” Cross said.
Vitter’s approval ratings are high in Louisiana, and his ability to rake in campaign donations is strong. Already, the leader of a pro-Vitter super PAC said the organization has raised $1.5 million to support a gubernatorial run for the senator.
Several polls taken before Vitter’s announcement showed the senator as the front-runner in the gubernatorial race if he chose to run.
As with every single media report concerning Vitter’s entry into the gubernatorial race, the AP mentions a dash of scandal from his past. Team Vitter had better jolly well believe that the media will not consider this story “old news” or “settled,” especially if he ends up in a tight general-election race:
Vitter admitted to a “serious sin” after phone records linked him to Washington’s “D.C. Madam” prostitution case in 2007, but he’s never commented further on whether he broke the law, instead saying his family had forgiven him and moved past it.
Voters don’t appear to hold the scandal against Vitter, with more than 58 percent giving him good marks in a recent Southern Media and Opinion Research poll about his job performance.
Well, if Vitter needs any help polishing up his biography, I know a lady in Texas who can put him in touch with some very skilled consultants.