Columnist and LSU journalism professor Bob Mann, in a piece today at nola.com, argues that Louisiana Democrats’ disgust for Sen. David Vitter could and should prompt them to vote for a moderate Republican like Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne or Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle in the gubernatorial election in October, rather than vote for the lone declared Democratic candidate, state Rep. John Bel Edwards. A former Green Beret and pro-life Blue Dog who polled second behind Vitter — but 13 points behind — in a Southern Media & Opinion Research survey this week, Edwards, Mann writes, doesn’t stand a chance in a runoff with Vitter. And a runoff with a Democrat is exactly what Vitter wants:
Democrats have a clear choice: send Edwards into a runoff that he almost certainly cannot win – or back a moderate Republican, who could defeat Vitter.
If Democrats have any power left in Louisiana politics, it is electing moderate Republicans. That’s not a goal that will launch Democratic activists out of bed each morning but it’s about all the power the party has left (in statewide elections, at least).
Know this: Vitter fears a runoff with Dardenne or Angelle. Why? Because other than Gov. Bobby Jindal, no Louisiana Republican is more despised by Louisiana’s Democrats than Vitter. Dardenne, running for re-election in 2011, won a decent share of the state’s black vote when he defeated another Republican, then-Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser.
In a Vitter-Dardenne or Vitter-Angelle matchup, the same dynamic would likely play out. Most Democrats won’t vote for Vitter in a runoff with Dardenne or Angelle. And both men could peel off just enough Republican votes from Vitter to make it a close race or defeat him. That’s why Vitter wants to face Edwards and why he won’t say an unkind word (in public) about his Democratic opponent.
Read the whole thing here.