Sept. 13, 2016 02:00 PM

If you follow the news even casually you know about the released-today book, Murder in the Bayou, that among other things alleges that U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany patronized prostitutes in Jennings, some of whom wound up murder victims in an apparent serial-killer case that remains unsolved. Eight women — mainly prostitutes and drug addicts known popularly as the “Jeff Davis 8” — were murdered between 2005 and 2009 in and around the Jennings area.

Boustany’s campaign vigorously denied the allegation last week when pre-release news of the accusation began to circulate. “These allegations are completely false and don’t even deserve a response,” Boustany spokesman Jack Pandol said at the time.

Indeed, the accusation is implausible, impossible to believe, and doesn't comport with what we know of Congressman Boustany.

But on Monday in an email to supporters, Boustany’s wife, Bridget, suggested that Boustany’s opponents in the upcoming Senate election might have played a role in the salacious accusation made in Murder in the Bayou: “Charles’ opponents have resorted to lies about him,” she writes in the email. (It’s worth noting the book, by investigative journalist Ethan Brown, was five years in the works — commencing long before retiring U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s decision not to seek re-election following his drubbing in last year’s gubernatorial runoff, which opened the door for Boustany and more than 20 other contenders to seek his seat.)

Following the Bridget Boustany email Monday, the candidate with the (consistently) best poll position in the race, state Treasurer John Kennedy, pounced:

Earlier today, the Boustany campaign sent out an email alleging that my campaign and other candidates’ campaigns for the U.S. Senate played a role in the shocking story alleging illegal behavior from Congressman Boustany and his staff. I want to be very clear that my campaign played absolutely no role in creating this story alleging Congressman Boustany’s sexual relationships with prostitutes that were later murdered, his staff’s alleged involvement in running the bar and hotel where this illicit behavior took place, or publishing the book Murder in the Bayou written by Ethan Brown and published by Simon and Schuster.

With just a few weeks left before Election Day, my campaign is focused exclusively on talking about real solutions to address our country’s problems. My wife, Becky, and I are keeping the Congressman, Mrs. Boustany and their children in our prayers as they deal with this as a family.

See what Kennedy did there? He denied any role in the “Jeff Davis 8” story, yet masterfully threaded the denial with “Congressman Boustany’s sexual relationships with prostitutes that were later murdered,” “the bar and hotel where this illicit behavior took place” and, most withering of all within the purity ball that is Republican politics, “My wife, Becky, and I are keeping the Congressman, Mrs. Boustany and their children in our prayers as they deal with this as a family.” He even stamped the accusation, even while denying it, with the imprimatur of one of America’s most respected publishing companies and promoted a book damaging to his opponent.

Brilliant.

Not only does Kennedy remind voters of the accusation, but he ends the statement reaffirming his own marriage and proclivity to pray. It’s akin to Donald Trump’s tried and true “I read/heard somewhere” method of sliming an opponent without actually apply the slime himself, e.g., President Obama’s birth certificate and Rafael Cruz’s link to the Kennedy assassination.

The “Jeff Davis 8” story line would have probably been smothered by other election-cycle news last week. Now the press is writing about it again.

Brown, the author of Murder in the Bayou, stands by his reporting, which, even if proven false, contains at least one grain of truth: After the prostitution accusation began circulating last week, the Boustany campaign severed ties with a campaign worker in Jennings, Martin “Big G” Guillory, who admits in the book that he managed the motel where some of the “Jeff Davis 8” prostitutes plied their trade, although Guillory says he was unaware of any criminal activity.

Armchair campaign consultant to Charles Boustany: Move on, sir.

ICYMI:

Introducing The Current