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Sep 30, 2010 12:29 AM by Jim Hummel

Senate Race Heats Up; Ad Wars Begin

More than a month to go before the election, the race for the Louisiana U.S. Senate seat is heating up and the so-called "ad-wars" have begun.

First up, a commercial already out by Senator David Vitter, which criticizes his opponent's response to the oil disaster in the Gulf.

"Charlie Melancon flew to Canada to pick up campaign checks from trial lawyers--there meeting on how to make money on the victim's of the oil spill," said a woman featured in the Vitter commercial.

But perhaps more scathing, a new television commercial out Wednesday by the Melancon campaign that addresses Senator David Vitter's 2007 prostitution scandal. "Forgotten Crimes" is a two-minute spot, that features re-enactments and testimonials that bring the scandal front and center.

"The ad features real Louisianians speaking out about the double standard that allows a US Senator to be let off the hook for crimes that would land most people in jail or out of a job," said Jeff Giertz, Communications Director for the Melancon for Senate campaign.

"Well the gloves have come off," said Dr. Pearson Cross, a professor of political science at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. "Vitter's known all the time that this could happen or was going to happen at some point, so I'm sure he's been thinking about this and how to counter it."

The Vitter campaign did counter Melancon's attack, releasing a statement Wednesday night.

"Charlie Melancon is really desperate if he has to result to personal attacks to duck and divert attention from his abysmal voting record on the issues," said Vitter spokesman Luke Bolar. "Louisiana voters know [Melancon] votes with Obama 84% of the time, and they're sick of Melancon's big-government, big-spending agenda."

But how voters perceive the ads is what really counts.

"Melancon can't win without using this card as I see it," said Cross. "But it could sour everyone on the whole race, whatever happens we're going to be wiping ourselves off come November 2nd."

Jim Hummel

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