Tuesday, December 30, 2008

LA Senate Line 2010 - An Orgy of Possibilities

You've got to hand it to David Vitter. His insatiable lust - for power - represents an interesting subject of study.

My sense of political precedent tells me that a sitting Senator that ran on a family values + morality platform would be pretty much toast if caught in a sex scandal, let alone in an illegal prostitution sting. Not only would that Senator have absolutely no chance at reelection, but he'd face a lot of pressure from his own electoral base to immediately resign.

Not only did Senator David Vitter face that scenario and stare it down, he also calculated it would be worth it for him and his family to continue to be embarrassed by rumors of years of infidelity garnished with the lurid details of his sexual fetishes.

One wonders why he didn't take a cue from former House Speaker Bob Livingston, who used to represent Senator Vitter's congressional district and but resigned in shame after Larry Flynt exposed Livingston's marital infidelity and hypocritical rhetoric on the Lewinsky scandal. Livingston has "no regrets" over resigning his office and it's quite easy to see why. His lobbying firm is extremely successful, earning riches probably several times greater than what would have been possible as a member of the House.

And though Vitter's silence has created some degree of separation between his office and the underground sex market (as far as we know), it is not as if people have forgotten. Morgan Johnson forgave, but he certainly did not forget.

Neither have Vitter's local GOP frenemies.

So it is fairly probable that David Vitter will face a primary challenge from within the GOP, even the anonymous craigslist candidate could do some serious damage.

On the Democratic side, the vulnerable Vitter provides a rare opportunity to gain ground given the resounding nature of GOP victories in recent statewide elections. Though the shine is fading from Governor Bobby Jindal's armor, he will not be particularly vulnerable when he comes up for reelection in 2011. Democrats serious about obtaining higher office will be trying their luck against Vitter while his diaper is still dirty.

Here are the rules for the line:

The lower a candidate is on the list, the higher the liklihood of election.

Democrats and Republicans will be ranked together on the line.

Until there is hard evidence that Democrats have rallied around a singular candidate, Vitter will rank number 1. The power attached to incumbency is an incredible asset. Until a Democrat can demonstrate financial competitiveness, Vitter will be safe at the top spot.

So without further adeiu:

10. Two wild card scenarios: A) Mitch goes for the brother sister thing. B) Bobby Jindal goes for the Evan Bayh thing.

9. John Neely Kennedy: The only question is whether his writers will stick with the GOP heel gimmick or turn him back into a babyface liberal Democrat and pretend 2008 never happened.

8. Ms. Craigslist: Is it possible that Louisiana residents would vote for a Republican former sex worker? I think that many will get off on doing just that.

7. Vincent Bruno: Mr. Bruno might just be a personality within the state GOP and not a public official but he has confirmed interest in this race. Bruno offered an erotic stipulation for his candidacy; one that promises to really stir the pot, no matter which way Vitter responds.

6. Walter Boasso: Pug ugly former candidate for governor may or may not sap resources from more viable Democratic contenders.

5. Jim Harlan: Though he was demolished by Steve Scalise in his underdog campaign in the LA 01, Harlan ran a pretty solid campaign. He could finance his own campaign to a certain degree. This could be a major advantage should there be a large number of Democratic candidates vying for the same pool of donors.

4. Don Cazayoux: After shocking political pundits with his victory last spring, Cazayoux recently lost his bid for a full term representing the LA-06 by a hair as a result of the involvement of a vote-sapping independent candidate. I was very impressed by his campaign and he could be a major player in the revival of the state democratic party if he stays in politics.

3. Chris John: Totally underwhelming and uninspiring candidate has statewide name recognition and could be interested in a rematch against Vitter.

2. Charlie Melancon: Rep. Melancon is the only Democrat left in Louisiana's Congressional delegation. He's pretty popular in his home district and was probably wise to join with the Blue Dog caucus. His policy positions are centrist enough to win in this conservative state, particularly if he can hit Vitter on values-type themes. He'll likely consider the race seriously, not just because Vitter is vulnerable but also because of the threat posed by the 2010 census redistricting process.

1. David Vitter: Vitter seems to have recovered from his scandal enough to raise money from the New Orleans business elite crowd. Plus he's already testing out reelection bumper stickers.


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I'm probably missing an upstate Democrat or two that might have interest. I've also likely overlooked some potential GOP challengers.

What do you think?

7 comments:

jeffrey said...

Though the shine is fading from Governor Bobby Jindal's armor, he will not be particularly vulnerable when he comes up for reelection in 2011

Not so fast! Watch what happens to Bobby in 2009 as faces a largely pissed off Legislature AND a multi-billion dollar deficit. Lots of potential for mischief.

Vitter, on the other hand, is a lock to be reelected.

Anonymous said...

HELENA MORENO?! An inexcusable oversight on your part Eli.

Also, I think that Jim Harlan has no political future. He's far too smart and professor-like, which makes him awkward in crowds. In the New Orleans area that might fly (although it didn't), but on a statewide level I seriously doubt it would.

Anonymous said...

Oh and isn't JNK too much of a brown-noser to ever run against such a prominent Republican as Vitter? I predict he'll sit this one out, seeing as McCain's coattails are no longer in the picture anyhow.

Clay said...

There's another candidate out there that would blow Vitter out of the water before he got out of the harbor. And he's even a Democrat...

E said...

Anon: "...Harlan has no political future. He's far too smart and professor-like, which makes him awkward in crowds."

That's an important useful insight.

Watch Jim Harlan plummet in my next Senate line. Just watch.

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