State Elections

Published — November 19, 2015

Outside groups try to help Vitter catch up in Louisiana governor race

U.S. Sen. David Vitter, a Republican, alludes to a prostitution scandal that has been dogging his bid for Louisiana governor in the ad "Difficult Times" that began airing last week. Youtube/David Vitter

9 things to know about the ad wars shaping the Nov. 21 runoffs


The TV ad wars have intensified in Louisiana ahead of final runoff elections Saturday for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, education board and several legislative seats.

Though U.S. Sen David Vitter was initially the frontrunner in the race to replace outgoing Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, he has been dogged by links to a notorious prostitution scandal. The Republican acknowledged his mistake in a TV ad that has aired more than 1,000 times in Louisiana during the past week.

In the wake of last week’s terrorist attacks in France, Vitter also pivoted and began airing an ad saying he would deny Syrian refugees entry to the state if elected governor.

But his opponent, Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards, has outspent Vitter on ads since the primary by an estimated $450,000 as he tries to return the governor’s mansion to Democratic hands after eight years of Republican control under Jindal.

Edwards was the top vote-getter in the Oct. 24 gubernatorial primary. Under Louisiana’s open, or “jungle,” primary system, voters select their preferred candidate regardless of party. If no candidate tops 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters advance to a runoff.

As Edwards and Vitter make their final appeals to voters, four independent political groups have spent nearly as much as the candidates on their own ads since the primary.

Source: Center for Public Integrity analysis of Kantar Media/CMAG data current through Nov. 16.

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