Haslam backs Vitter in Louisiana governor’s race

As chairman of the Republican Governors Association, Gov. Bill Haslam has endorsed U.S. Sen. David Vitter for governor of Louisiana after he finished ahead of two Republican rivals in Saturday voting despite a combative campaign that included explicit references to his 2007 prostitution scandal. Vitter now goes into a runoff election next month against Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards.

From a Politico story on the Louisiana gubernatorial campaign:

Among those Edwards still needs to convince of his viability is the Democratic Governors’ Association, which has yet to spend money on television ads in the contest and isn’t committing to do so during the run-off. The DGA is sending Scott Arcenaux, a Louisiana native who was previously executive director of the Florida Democratic Party, to assist Edwards’ campaign.

“John Bel Edwards has proudly served our nation and the state of Louisiana with integrity,” DGA Executive Director Elisabeth Pearson said, adding: “The primary results were a clear repudiation of David Vitter’s tired Washington politics. Louisiana voters know that they just can’t trust David Vitter. That’s why more than 70 percent of them rejected his campaign today.”

…Polls have shown Vitter’s image rating tanking among the state’s voters, compared to the popular Edwards. But while Vitter had focused his primary campaign on his GOP rivals, the Republican Governors Association revved up its attacks on Edwards, spending $1 million in the final weeks on TV ads that call Edwards an “Obama liberal” and features audio of Edwards saying “I supported the president” four different times.

The RGA formally endorsed Vitter on Saturday night.

“As a dedicated leader for Louisiana, David Vitter has been committed to making government work better for the people by cutting wasteful spending and fighting back against President Obama’s executive overreach,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, the RGA chairman, said in a statement. “His record of reform shows that he knows what it takes to solve Louisiana’s most pressing issues.”

Edwards’ ads rarely mention his party affiliation and instead emphasize his most conservative policy positions. One ad features Edwards and his wife discussing their decision to keep her pregnancy after a diagnosis of spinal bfida in the womb. Their daughter, Samantha, is now in graduate school and engaged, the ad says.