Vitter Gets Strongest Challenger in Melancon
by Jonathan Singer, Thu Aug 27, 2009 at 08:24:39 AM EDT
We have been waiting on this news for a long while -- at least since June, and as far back as May -- but now it's official: Democratic Congressman Charlie Melancon will challenge Louisiana's scandal-ridden GOP Senator David Vitter in 2010.
Melancon clearly isn't going to be running as a liberal -- he cites his 100 percent rating from the NRA, his business experience, and his work as an advocate for the state's sugar industry -- but he isn't shying away from his party affiliation, either. Indeed, Melancon is the type of Southern Democrat we haven't seen in some time -- moderate to conservative, yes, but also proud to be a Democrat. Back in 2004, before many other Democrats in the region were willing to make the plunge, Melancon ran and won in a toughly fought contest to succeed Billy Tauzin in the House, a race not many predicted he would be able to win (particularly considering that his competition was Tauzin's eponymous son). No doubt this will be a tough race for Melancon. But with all of Vitter's problems during his first term in office, this just might be the type of contest the Democrats might be able to sneak away with in 2010.