New Orleans, La. – Vitter kept up a blistering criticism during his campaign of President Obama in a hard-fought and heated contest. In his sharply worded concession speech, Melancon slammed the tone of the race - and again jabbed Vitter for his 2007 link to a Washington, D-C prostitution ring. In his victory speech, Vitter promised to keep fighting for private sector growth and a repeal of the president's health care program. University of New Orleans political science professor Ed Chervenak says Vitter made the best use of an incumbent's power position.
"The scandal took place three years ago. People have had time to process the information, weight it, and most, I guess, many voters decided to forgive Senator Vitter. And so I think it's just a matter of distance and the time from the scandal to the election. And things have just changed politically and he took advantage of that."
In the House contest, Republican Congressman Joseph Cao lost his bid for a second term to state Representative Cedric Richmond. In his concession speech, Cao noted that many doubted his chances as a Republican in a Democratic-majority district.
Chervenak says the president's television spot endorsing Richmond helped seal his election, despite Cao's claming to be a bipartisan candidate.
Chervenak says that while many are hoping that new faces in Washington will get legislation moving, it may not happen.
"If the Republicans hold the House and the Democrats hold the Senate, we may be in for two years of gridlock." :05
In the major state contest, Republican Secretary of State Jay Dardenne easily defeated Democratic newcomer Caroline Fayard. Chervenak says the position is mainly to promote Louisiana, but with Governor Bobby Jindal expected to pursue national office, the lieutenant governor will have more political power.
For WWNO, I'm Eileen Fleming