Senate Race Notes

Three quick items on the U.S. Senate race in Louisiana, where Republican David Vitter remains the favorite to hold onto his seat starting with Saturday’s primary and the Nov. 2 general election:

Ellingtons’ Disbarment Complaint Threatens Traylor Campaign, Livelihood

It seems that Chet Traylor’s attempts to get out of showing up for an August 12 deposition in the successions case against him surrounding the estate of his deceased wife has caused a real mess.

The Republican Senate candidate, whose poll numbers (3.9 percent or 5 percent, depending on the poll) and fundraising ($42,000) have indicated him to be little or no factor in Saturday’s primary against Vitter, is now the subject of an ethics complaint seeking to disbar him. The complaint, filed by Ryan Ellington and Noble Ellington, III, the sons of Traylor’s wife Peggy McDowell Traylor, indicates that Traylor represented he couldn’t make the deposition in Monroe because he had to be in federal court in Baton Rouge on a case named Poe v. Martin. But upon some research, the Ellingtons’ attorney found out that Traylor isn’t involved with the Poe v. Martin case, and furthermore he’s not on the rolls to practice in that court anyway.

Needless to say, the Ellingtons were not the least bit displeased at those revelations. Thus the complaint.

Vitter Attorneys Fighting To Keep Traylor Radio Spot Off Air

Imagine the irony, then, that Traylor has cut a radio spot accusing Vitter of poor behavior toward women – to such an extent that Vitter has attorneys browbeating stations across the state in an effort not to run it because, Vitter’s campaign says, it’s deceptive. As WWL reports…

The 60-second commercial alleges that Vitter and a former Vitter aide both have less-than-honorable conduct in dealing with women. 

Vitter’s attorneys say, in a letter to radio stations, that the commercial is “false, misleading and defamatory.”

However, Lou Munsun, President of the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters, says local stations are bound by law to run all political commercials as-is, without editing, censorship, or review.

“So, if a candidate comes in and say, ‘you need to pull that ad, it’s untrue’…it’s not something we can do,” Bunsun said.

The commercial dredges up Vitter’s alleged battery of a woman and of the arrest of once of Vitter’s former aides, Brent Furer.

Vitter’s attorneys specifically take issue with this allegation in the commercial:  “Vitter’s Senate Aide for Women Affairs holds his girlfriend hostage while slashing her face with a knife.”

James M. Garner, one of Vitter’s attorneys in the matter, wrote that the aide in question, Brent Furer, was not convicted of assault and those charges were dismissed.

In his letter, Garner added, “It was not even alleged by the victim in the police report that Mr. Furer ‘slashed her face with a knife,’” as the commercial alleged.

On the last bit, it’s arguable – as photos of the victim in the Furer incident did indicate she sustained a small cut under her chin. Not exactly the face, but close.

In any event, Traylor’s radio spot sounds more or less identical to this TV spot Charlie Melancon’s campaign is running…

The question has been asked by many, including us here at the Hayride, whether Traylor is a stalking horse for Melancon. If he’s not, he sure doesn’t appear to have much along the lines of original thought.

Happy Anniversary? #&% You.

Given the level of nastiness already in the air with the Senate campaign, this tidbit shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Vitter offered a backhanded well-wishing to Melancon on the occasion of his 38th wedding anniversary, and received a sharp rebuke for his trouble.

Vitter may have deserved Melancon’s grouchy response. The e-mail mention of the anniversary was entitled “Remember to Wish No Time Charlie Melancon a Happy Anniversary,” and it launches into a characterization of Melancon’s interaction with constituents in unflattering terms. As POLITICO reports…

In the e-mail, Vitter criticizes Melancon’s willingness to host voter town halls, then senator signs off by saying: “So, please take a moment to wish Charlie Melancon a happy anniversary, and thank him … for nothing.”

Melancon’s camp blew up over that…

“For Charlie and Peachy, and the thousands of other happily married couples throughout Louisiana, a wedding anniversary is a time to reflect on our blessings and celebrate a joyful union,” said Jeff Giertz, a Melancon spokesman. “David Vitter should immediately apologize for his tasteless comments.”

Vitter’s campaign responded thusly…

“Politics aside, our office wishes Charlie and Peachy the best.”

One wonders whether attempts at comity, politeness or even good humor are wasted in this campaign. Ears and noses are the trophies of the day in this race (and a special prize awaits the first commenter who can identify that movie reference).



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