Sheriffs deny Vitter on early endorsement

by Jeremy Alford, LaPolitics

After speaking to some personally and texting more, U.S. Sen. David Vitter was unable to convince enough sheriffs to issue an early endorsement for his gubernatorial campaign during their annual convention in Shreveport las month.

The text message obtained by LaPolitics and confirmed as authentic by the Vitter campaign suggested to sheriffs that waiting to endorse, rather than officially backing him this week, would be a poor choice. “A later endorsement would be much, much less significant and helpful,” Vitter wrote in the text.

Elected members who attended the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association gathering said Vitter pushed the idea hard, only to garner support from a handful of sheriffs. For an early endorsement, sheriffs would have had to carve out a temporary exception to a new bylaw that was passed in February prohibiting endorsements prior to qualifying.

The sheriffs have historically endorsed in statewide races during the summer, or in some instances earlier. But following last year’s contentious backing of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, they decided a change was needed.

Some sheriffs interviewed, seeking to avoid the race for now with cover from the new bylaw, felt Vitter was trying to force their hand, even though a few said they would end up supporting him anyhow.

The state’s sheriffs will likely meet again in Baton Rouge some time after qualifying in early September to discuss the endorsement topic again and, possibly, to vote on a candidate to back.