We’ve covered how David Vitter and Scott Angelle are sniping at each other as Vitter tries to lockup a runoff spot against John Bel Edwards. Now it appears that Vitter has turned his attention to Jay Dardenne.
Dardenne is a little more tricky than Angelle. For example, Jay Dardenne will not be trying to prove he’s more conservative than Vitter. That’s just not Jay’s style and that’s not the message he’s trying to send to voters. Dardenne is trying to find that sweet spot where many Louisiana voters lie. Not too conservative, but at the same time not liberal. It’s pretty much every Jay Dardenne election strategy for statewide office.
First up the Fund for Louisiana’s Future, which is Vitter’s SuperPAC, has been whacking Dardenne (along with Scott Angelle) on taxes.
Then the Vitter campaign itself followed up with this
The ad paints Dardenne as someone who has voted pro-abortion 6 times, raised taxes, and wants to help illegal immigrants take jobs.
Let me take them in reverse order. In 2006, the Louisiana legislature enacted SB 753 which allowed DAs and the state Attorney General to file cease and desist orders for companies who hire illegal immigrants. Dardenne voted no the first time it came up in the Senate, along with a lot of pro business Republicans. Dardenne however voted to concur in a House amendment that exempted businesses with 10 or fewer employees. That appeared to be the sticking point on the bill.
As a rule, I don’t like the idea of the states crafting their own immigration laws. That’s why I oppose both sanctuary cities and laws that more strictly enforce immigration laws than the Feds. The Constitution is quite clear that immigration is a Federal responsibility.
The taxes bit is probably the most effective part of the ad. Dardenne was a strong supporter of the Stelly income tax hikes. Dardenne does have an extensive record in the legislature of voting for tax hikes. That’s true and the Dardenne campaign needs to explain it.
Finally, the abortion bit I think will cut both ways. It will help Vitter solidify the pro-life vote. However, when you get into the 6 pro-abortion votes, it will help Dardenne make the case he’s not an extremist. After all, one of the votes is on rape and incest exceptions, which are popular. Dardenne also explained his abortion stance this weekend.
Here’s why this particular attack on Dardenne isn’t the most effective, it helps make his argument that he’s a centrist. It will pull votes away from Edwards and to Dardenne. The worst runoff pairing for Vitter is one against Dardenne.
Ultimately, it’s not his center that Vitter needs to be worried about. He needs to make sure conservatives don’t run away from him and go to Angelle. This was not a wise move by the Vitter campaign.