August 27th, 2009
11:15 AM ET
12 years ago

Melancon makes Vitter challenge official

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Melancon officially entered the race in a Web video released Thursday."]

(CNN) - In a highly-expected move, Democratic Rep. Charlie Melancon said Thursday that he will enter the race to take on Republican Sen. David Vitter in the Louisiana Senate race next year.

"Today, I'm announcing my candidacy for the U.S. Senate to replace David Vitter, because Louisiana deserves better," said the three-term congressman in a video message sent to supporters.

Vitter has been focusing his fire on Melancon for months, including a Web ad earlier this summer that took a swipe at the congressman for fundraising in the Northeast, and attempted to tie him to President Obama.

"It didn't take long for President Obama and his liberal friends to throw their support behind David's opponent, Charlie Melancon," said the incumbent in a fundraising appeal to his own supporters, slamming Melancon for "(flying) up to Martha's Vinyard to collect campaign cash from Obama's wealthiest supporters at cocktail parties in Massachusetts."

Melancon - a fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrat who has publicly opposed some of the main elements of the president's health care proposal, and is considered a potential swing vote on a final bill - has been a prime target on the issue this summer for groups on both sides of the debate.

FreedomWorks, one of the most active conservative organizations opposing President Obama's health care reform plan, had him on its shortlist of town hall targets heading into the August recess. On the other side of the spectrum, the congressman was pressured to back the Obama plan in ads from Organizing for America, the president's campaign arm at the Democratic National Committee, and Health Care for America Now, the coalition of union and other liberal groups that has provided the major third-party support for the proposal.

Vitter, who weathered a very public prostitution scandal earlier in his term, is currently considered to have the edge over any potential Democratic opponent, including Melancon - who won last cycle in a district where six in 10 voters supported John McCain, a fact which may turn his former seat into a likely GOP pickup. In the first half of the year, the Democrat built up a $1.2 million warchest to take on Vitter in 2010.

UPDATE: Within minutes of Melancon's announcement, the National Republican Senatorial Committee released a new Web video tying Melancon to Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Filed under: David Vitter
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Adam Habib Dallas, TX

    Mr. Vitter is a conservative? LOL. I guess he and people have short term memory.

    August 27, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  2. No Incumbents 2010

    Vitter is toast. Diaper David will soon be off the public dole.

    August 27, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  3. Stuffit

    They ought to just go out into the countryside, find some farmer that hasn't been on TV to describe a tornado and just appoint him. Voting for these power hungry connected members of the "institution" hasn't served us very well lately.

    August 27, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. Ken

    So let me get this straight: It is OK for Vitter to use an anti-Obama position in his campaign, but it is not OK for Deeds to use anti-Bush points in his campaign?!? Again, hypocrisy reigns supreme in the sub-simian minds of the rightwingers. But especially hypocritical will be the christian right lining up to support the oh-so-moral Vitter - THAT is going to be one hoot of a hypocritical stance......we know already what that will sound like: god has forgiven Vitter his all-encompassing moral turpitude, but god will not forgive Melancon for being a democrat.

    August 27, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. Joseph, Los Angeles

    This is getting dirty already. Louisiana politics at it's worst.

    August 27, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  6. diridi

    that idiot is a silly guy...bobby zindal...go for support health care with public option...and have my support...period...Republicans already made a big mess and talk about deficit..nonsense....go for health care reform with public option...have my support...good M...

    August 27, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  7. Mario, mtl, ca.

    Vitter hypocrit should be oust from office

    August 27, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  8. fellow from chicago

    2010 won't be a good year for a Democrat to challenge an incumbent Republican. I would think twice Congressman Melancon.

    August 27, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  9. Kelby In Houston, Texas

    GO Charlie Melancon GO!!!

    August 27, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  10. Carl from MI

    Maybe Vitter will work on making prostitution legal for his state... that way he won't be breaking the law when he hires them!!!

    Another hypocratic 'Family Values' Republican that needs to resign and be kicked to the curb.

    Another reason to vote Republican this fall!!!

    August 27, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  11. Terry from Texas

    Many people are angry with Vitter because he patronized the infamous "DC Madam" and became involved in a prostitution scandal. However, Sen. Vitter assures us that Jesus has forgiven him and I don't think he would lie about that.

    If Jesus has forgiven him, shouldn't all of us welcome him back into the fold?

    Jesus has also forgiven Republican Rep. Larry Craig for trying to seduce young House pages, Sen. Ensign for having a girlfriend who got a handsome check from Ensign's parents, Gov. Sanford for his involvement with his Argentinian paramour, and Sen. Larry "Wide Stance" Craig for flirting with an undercover cop in the Chicago Airport Men's Room.

    Go thou, and do likewise.

    August 27, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  12. Carl from MI

    PS If your state keeps voting Republican after having a senator like Vitter or a Governor like Sanford... then your state is filled with idiots and deserves everything you get!!

    August 27, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  13. Liberal and PROUD of it!

    LEt's vote out all republicans in the house and senate and restore our country that the republicans DESTROYED!

    August 27, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  14. I can see Canada from my house!

    Well, that's Louisiana for you. Only there would infidelity and supporting a prositute give you an edge. Maybe Sanford should try for governor after he gets impeached and removed from the Palmetto State.

    August 27, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  15. Ted

    Vitter and Sanford and Palin should all lose their membership in the GOP. three morons.

    August 27, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  16. BURNS-NH

    Joy, another dem to join a corrupt city,N.O.-Chicago,N.Y.,Boston,and let us not forget New Jersey and florida. Organized crimes favorite
    places–oh also Detroit and DC.

    August 27, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  17. Tulsa

    Go Charlie.

    August 27, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  18. MonRob

    What is wrong with Louisiana? How can so many cast votes for Vitter.

    August 27, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  19. Mississippi Mike

    Politicians are liars by nature. Why would you trust a guy who has "con" in his last name? I'd say nature put a warning on this guy from birth, don't be fooled, he is an Obamabot.

    August 27, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |