Friday, November 13, 2015

It Looks Like Vitter's Prostitution Scandal May Be Finally Coming Home To Roost


Gee, that took a while. Vitter has been chasing prostitutes since at least the mid-1990s when he was a member of the Louisiana legislature. He didn't stop when he was elected to Congress in 1999 or when he got into the U.S. Senate in 2004, two years after the first of his many prostitution scandals broke out into the open (and causing him to drop out of his first attempt to win the state's governorship). Vitter, a Family Values hypocrite and serial whore-monger for at least three decades, has managed to win elections by assuring Republican rubes that God has forgiven him and by promising to never do it again. But his luck may be running out as a series of polls show him losing the gubernatorial run-off, after placing a distant second, to conservative Democrat John Bel Edwards. The election is November 21.

When the GOP's presidential clown show was stopping in Milwaukee on Tuesday, Vitter was trying to defend himself down in Louisiana as Edwards hammered him on the prostitution charges and a sleazy life lived without honor or dignity. "There's enough scandal and embarrassment here to last a lifetime. Louisiana doesn't need any more of that... you're a liar and you're a cheater and you're a stealer and I don't tolerate that... Hundreds of veterans have contacted me and they wanted to know that you were missing out on your public performance of your duties in Congress in order to engage in those extracurricular activities that you don't want to admit to."

Louisiana voters seem very excited by the election-- more than they were for the open primary last month-- and early voting indicates that voter participation could be as high as 50%, 10 points higher than it was for the primary. And early voting is attracting substantially more Democrats than Republicans.

Thursday morning, CNN's Manu Raju reported that DC Republicans think Vitter's likely defeat would lead to a defeat next year if he tries to keep his Senate seat-- and they want him to quit.
In back-channel conversations in Washington, the consensus among top Republicans is beginning to form: Vitter has become so damaged by the bitter race-- and the renewed focus on his "D.C. Madam" prostitution scandal-- that he would almost certainly cost his party a valuable Senate seat if he decided to run for a third term... [W]ith polls showing Vitter growing increasingly unpopular-- and losing by a big margin to his Democratic opponent, state Rep. John Bel Edwards-- a growing number of top Republicans privately say Vitter would need to step aside to help their party maintain control of the Senate.

"It would be best for the party if he didn't run," said one senior Republican senator who, like many others interviewed for this story, asked not to be named with the governor's race still ongoing.

And the latest polling, from the University of New Orleans Research Center, shows Edwards with an astonishing 22 point lead over Vitter-- 56-34% with just 10% undecided. More than one in four Republicans (27%) say they are going to vote for the Democratic candidate, including one in three conservatives! (About half the voters who cast primary ballots for the other 2 Republicans in the primary, Scott Angelle and Jay Dardenne say they plan on voting for Edwards.) Bobby Jindal has a 70% disapproval rating and three-fourths of voters who strongly disapprove of him support Edwards in the runoff. Although Vitter leads in the fundraising race, since the primary Edwards has brought in $1.5 million to Vitter's $130,000.

Vitter is almost as despised by his Senate colleagues-- he repeatedly tried to eliminate federal contributions to subsidize lawmakers' and aides' health care coverage-- as Ted Cruz is. But much of the drum beat for him to retire if he loses the gubernatorial race is coming from McConnell's office and one GOP Senate operative put it like this: "Let's face the facts: He can't win re-election to the Senate with these kind of numbers and with the difficult map that Republicans are facing, he could be a drain on the majority." New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu wants to run as do Republican congressmen John Fleming and Charles "Lord Charles" Boustany and state Treasurer John Kennedy.

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