Rep. Charlie Melancon is reportedly seriously considering a race against Sen. David "Diapers" Vitter. While the state is one a tiny handful of states trending Republican, Melancon presents unique opportunities for Democrats.
Our own polling shows that this will be a competitive race:
Vitter (R) 48
Melancon (D) 41
No opinion 9
No opinion 39
This race will be won and lost on Melancon's "no opinion". If the Democrat can slot those under the "favorable" column, he's golden. But Vitter and the Republican slime machine will do everything in their power to define their foe unfavorably.
Vitter has about $2.5 million cash on hand as of the first quarter. But Melancon had no opponent last year (despite representing a district McCain won 61-37), and has reportedly over $1 million in the bank.
But what are the locals saying? Clancy Dubos, a local political reporter, was on WWL-TV to talk about the race:
Clancy Dubos: Vitter of course, is the incumbent. He’s not necessarily a favorite against a guy like Melancon, because Melancon is clearly the best that the Democrats have to offer against an incumbent like Vitter.
Lee Zurik: Dubos says that’s because of Melancon’s heritage - the Napoleonville native will intrigue what Dubos calls the key bloc of voters in this race.
Clancy Dubos: Louisiana basically has three big groups of voters, you have blacks, you have, uh, WASPS, white Anglo-Saxon protestants, or bubbas, and you have Cajuns. And the Cajuns, traditionally, are the swing vote.
Lee Zurik: And Dubos says the Cajuns in Acadiana and parishes like Terrebonne and Lafourche could decide this election.
Clancy Dubos: Vitter got elected the first time because he was able to get a significant portion of the Acadiana vote. Melancon, as a native son, and as a conservative, will probably have first call on a lot of Cajun votes, and that will make it tough for Vitter – not impossible.