June 17, 2016 04:30 PM

The pair of Louisiana U.S. Senate candidates most likely to cancel each other out in November — Republican Congressman Charles Boustany Jr. of South Louisiana and Republican Congressman John Fleming of North Louisiana, both physicians — have stumbled into a row that started with an errant thumb and some off-hand comments broadcast live over social media.

The Fleming campaign fired off a press release Friday in response to a could-have-been-so-much-worse gaffe by the Boustany camp: On Tuesday this week a deputy something or other at Boustany’s DC digs accidentally activated the Facebook Live stream on his smart(?)phone during an off-the-cuff moment.

Boustany, left, and Fleming
It’s mostly young-sounding staffers jocularly discussing the merits of rival Senate candidates Fleming and state Treasurer John Kennedy; the latter’s messaging prowess is hailed, the former’s rhetorical paraplegia — and wishing there were more of it — is mentioned.

A fuller paraphrasing of the chatter is here at nola.com, which first reported it Tuesday.

But in what otherwise is an accidental video of an unremarkable lull in the daily rushing around doing important congressman stuff, Boustany makes a cameo, mentioning a New Orleans doctor who, Boustany says, secretly supports the Lafayette congressman but can’t endorse him because the doctor’s son is on Fleming’s staff.

“Only one member of Rep. Fleming’s official or political staff meets the criteria discussed by Rep. Boustany – the son of Dr. Keith Van Meter, a notable ER doctor in Louisiana,” Camp Fleming’s Friday dispatch says, summoning the good doctor himself, who sniffs, adjusts his ascot and writes:

Congressman Boustany recently reached out to me and asked me to support his campaign for United States Senate. Prior to that call, I have never spoken to Charles Boustany. While I indicated to him that I would support him if he were elected, I will in fact be voting for Congressman Fleming this November because I do know Dr. Fleming and agree with his positions. I would respectfully ask that Dr. Boustany retract his claims of my support for his candidacy.

No response so far from the Boustany campaign. (We emailed them late Friday afternoon but don’t expect to hear back before knocking off the weekend turning to other important matters.)