Syrian Refugee Crisis Takes Center Stage in Louisiana Race

Vitter, Edwards, and allied groups are launching a parade of TV ads on the topic in the final days of the race.

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Karyn Bruggeman
Nov. 18, 2015, 11:32 a.m.

Sen. Dav­id Vit­ter (R) was the first to air a TV ad ad­dress­ing his po­s­i­tion on wheth­er Louisi­ana should ac­cept refugees flee­ing civil war in Syr­ia in the wake of the Par­is ter­ror­ist at­tacks, where one at­tack­er is thought to have entered the European Uni­on while car­ry­ing a fake Syr­i­an pass­port. And now his op­pon­ents and al­lied groups are pil­ing on with just three days to go un­til the Nov. 21 elec­tion.

The Fund for Louisi­ana’s Fu­ture, a pro-Vit­ter group, is out with a new spot say­ing, “Louisi­anans are wor­ried about ter­ror­ism, but state Rep. John Bel Ed­wards (D) said he would be part­ners with Obama and ac­com­mod­ate Syr­i­an refugees in Louisi­ana.” (re­lease)

Ed­wards con­tests the no­tion he’d work with Pres­id­ent Obama to bring more refugees to the state, say­ing he merely meant he would keep in touch with fed­er­al au­thor­it­ies on the status of things.  

Ed­wards re­spon­ded with an ad say­ing, “It comes as no sur­prise that Dav­id Vit­ter is dis­tort­ing the facts and try­ing to use this tragedy to save his des­per­ate cam­paign,” ac­cus­ing him of skip­ping Sen­ate com­mit­tee hear­ings on the refugee crisis, say­ing he “was AWOL when he could have made a dif­fer­ence.” (re­lease)

The anti-Vit­ter Gumbo PAC also re­spon­ded with an ad say­ing, “Dav­id Vit­ter’s ly­ing again, this time on Syr­ia. The truth: John Bel Ed­wards is against re­lo­cat­ing Syr­i­an refugees to Louisi­ana.”. (re­lease)

OTH­ER NEW TV ADS. Three groups sup­port­ing Ed­wards also went up with an­oth­er set of new spots. Louisi­ana Fam­il­ies First, a pro-Ed­wards group, is run­ning a TV ad ty­ing Vit­ter to Gov. Bobby Jin­dal (R). (re­lease)

Gumbo PAC is also at­tack­ing Vit­ter on his use of a private in­vest­ig­at­or and the or­deal now al­legedly un­der re­view by the FBI. (re­lease)

The Louisi­ana Wa­ter Co­ali­tion is also up with their first TV ad of the run­off. It’s a pos­it­ive spot pro­mot­ing Ed­wards. The group is backed by a law firm. (re­lease)

JIN­DAL AN­NOUNCE­MENT. Both Vit­ter and Ed­wards re­acted Tues­day to news that Jin­dal was drop­ping out of the pres­id­en­tial race. Des­pite typ­ic­ally cri­ti­ciz­ing Jin­dal on the cam­paign trail, Vit­ter praised Jin­dal in a state­ment.

“Wheth­er you agree with his polit­ics or not, Bobby took on a great chal­lenge of run­ning to serve this na­tion at the highest level. … I’m sure Bobby is look­ing for­ward to spend­ing time with his fam­ily.” (The Ad­voc­ate)

Jin­dal’s an­nounce­ment briefly over­shad­owed cov­er­age of the gov­ernor’s race. Some ana­lysts in­ter­preted the tim­ing as be­ne­fi­cial to Ed­wards. (The Ad­voc­ate)

UN­SA­VORY CON­NEC­TION. The Vit­ter cam­paign is ques­tion­ing the role of former Rep. Cleo Fields (D) in Ed­wards’ cam­paign. Fields “re­mains tox­ic polit­ic­ally among many voters for hav­ing been video­taped in 1997 re­ceiv­ing $20,000 from Ed­win W. Ed­wards at the former gov­ernor’s law of­fice and stuff­ing the cash in­to his pock­ets.” (The Ad­voc­ate)


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