Prostitution Pops Up in New Round of Louisiana Ads

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Reeling from months of attacks about his 2007 prostitution scandal, Republican Sen. David Vitter released a new TV ad offering voters an apology in the final days of his Louisiana gubernatorial campaign.  

"Fifteen years ago, I failed my family but found forgiveness and love,” Vitter said directly to the camera. "Our falls aren't what define us, but rather how we get up, accept responsibility and earn redemption." https://www.youtube.com/embed/yImv6dnzNl4  

Vitter’s 30-second commercial, which does not directly mention the prostitution scandal, was released just three days after his Democratic rival, state Rep. John Bel Edwards, unveiled an ad that blatantly featured it. The Edwards spot accused Vitter of missing a vote to honor veterans because he "took a prostitute’s call," referring to his phone number showing up on a call log belonging to the “D.C. madam.”  

"David Vitter chose prostitutes over patriots," the narrator says, with ominous music in the background.  

In the primary, Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, one of the two other leading Republicans who ran for governor and who later endorsed Edwards, subtly hit Vitter on the issue in one of his ads. But outside groups, such as the Democratic Governors Association-aligned Gumbo PAC, have hammered Vitter for it directly , part of a long, negative campaign against him that has dinged his popularity in the Pelican State.  

The latest ads came as voters began casting ballots in the race, which is rated a Tossup by the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call. Absentee voting began on Nov. 7, and the final votes will be cast two weeks later, on Nov. 21.