Politics 2010: Challenger nipping Vitter's heels

By NICOLE DEBEVEC, United Press International  |  Aug. 22, 2010 at 7:34 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter
1 of 2
| License Photo

Louisiana's Republican U.S. Senate challenger Chet Traylor could force incumbent David Vitter into a runoff to capture the party nomination, a recent poll indicates.

Traylor, a retired state Supreme Court justice, qualified last month to oppose Vitter on Saturday as Vitter seeks his second term in the Senate. Dr. Nick Accardo of Franklin also qualified for the Republican primary election.

A recent Market Research Institute poll indicated Vitter polled 46 percent to Traylor's 34 percent, but 21 percent of respondents said they were undecided.

If neither Vitter nor his GOP challengers secures 51 percent of the vote, a runoff will be conducted Oct. 2.

The survey included questions about Vitter's connection to a Washington call girl service and his employment of an aide for several years after the aide was arrested for abusing his girlfriend.

While Traylor may be nipping at Vitter's heels among voters, he's woefully lacking in the fundraising department, published reports said.

Politico reported Traylor said he fell far short of his fundraising goal. Traylor raised a $42,000 and had about $1,000 less than that in the bank -- a fraction of the $5.4 million Vitter reported having on hand.

Traylor's funds represent about a tenth of what his aides say he needs for a bid. One aide, Roy Fletcher, told a Louisiana newspaper the campaign would need about $500,000, but the neophyte Senate candidate said fundraising so far has been way off the mark.

"I don't think that's going to be in the ballpark," Traylor told Politico. "But I don't think we need that to get our message out. At least I hope we don't."

Vitter reported raising $507,000 from July 1 to Aug. 8 and has twice as much banked as the presumed Democratic nominee, U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon, who raised $233,000 last month and reported $2.2 million in the bank Aug. 8.

Neeson J. Chauvin Jr. and Cary J. Deaton also are on the Democratic ballot.

Traylor reportedly sank most of his funds into a one-minute radio ad that calls on Louisiana voters to "man up and oppose Vitter, citing his list of public scandals over the years, Real Clear Politics said.

"Why is Congress so corrupt?" the ad's voice-over intones. "David Vitter, he's part of the corruption."

The narrator includes Vitter's link to the so-called "D.C. Madam" and another call girl in New Orleans, plus a judge finding that Vitter committed battery on a woman.

"What's next?," the narrator asks. "Republicans, it's time to man up for change."

The battle for Melancon's soon-to-be-vacant 3rd Congressional District seat pits former state House Speaker Hunt Downer against New Iberia attorney Jeff Landry and oilfield manager Kristian Magar on the Republican ticket. While Landry is the financial leader among the three Republicans, Downer attracted a significant haul since entering the race.

Democrat Ravi Sangisetty is unopposed.

Related UPI Stories
Topics: David Vitter
Trending Stories