The final debate of the 2015 gubernatorial primary produced not only a fast-paced set of questions and answers but also some of the sharpest criticisms yet for serially absent U.S. Sen. David Vitter. All three candidates honed in on the latest chapter of Vitter's sex scandal (see story, p. 7).
The debate was hosted and moderated by LSU students in the university's Manship School of Mass Communication and featured panelists from TV stations across the state.
Near the end of the debate, the gloves came off as Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle said Vitter's election as governor would bring a "stench" over Louisiana. "I'd encourage everybody at home to go to theamericanzombie.com website and see the recent allegations that have been posted," Angelle said. "There is a shadow that has been cast over Sen. Vitter — a shadow that if it continues will follow Louisiana. When that follows Louisiana, it hurts our ability to create jobs. ... We can't have a cavalier attitude about this. I understand a serious sin. It is now perhaps a lifestyle that we need to examine — a lifestyle that Louisiana cannot afford."
After the debate, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne told WWL-TV's Natalie Shepherd, one of the debate's panelists, that the "stench" mentioned by Angelle is "not gonna go away. It needs to be addressed." Regarding the American Zombie stories, Dardenne said, "It seems to me that it's a real story that ought to be addressed."
John Bel Edwards, the only Democrat in the contest, took aim at another potential weak spot for Vitter, telling reporters, "The last time we elected a governor who didn't routinely come to debates and let the people learn more about him and his positions on the issues, we elected Bobby Jindal."