A new political action committee called Gumbo PAC has launched with the expressed purpose of targeting U.S. Sen. David Vitter’s bid to become the next governor of Louisiana.
Image from Gumbo PAC website gumbopac.com
Gumbo PAC launched a website and YouTube video today that takes aim at Vitter’s time in elected office. He was first elected to Congress in 1999 and has served in the Senate since 2005.
“It’s a story of a man who went to Washington promising to change it but instead became it,” the Gumbo PAC video narrator begins.
Nearly half of the video focuses on footage of TV reports on Vitter’s ties to the infamous DC madam and claims made by a former New Orleans prostitute. Nearly eight years ago, Vitter admitted to a “serious sin” after his phone number appeared among the records of the madam’s high-priced prostitution service. The New Orleans prostitute, in interviews, alleged she had frequent trysts with Vitter. The Gumbo PAC video calls Vitter “an embarrassment to the people of Louisiana.”
“Just imagine the things you haven’t heard about … yet,” it concludes.
Vitter campaign spokesman Luke Bolar dismissed the Gumbo PAC campaign as a negative retaliation for Vitter’s efforts in DC.
“Sadly, this is more politics as usual from liberal Obama Democrats and their allies. When you fight to really reform things –like taking away politicians’ automatic pay raises and special Obamacare exemptions — this crowd is gonna come after you,” Bolar said. “But David Vitter is undeterred. He’ll continue to lead, to lay out his plan to build a brighter future for all Louisianians.”
Baton Rouge-based political consultant Trey Ourso confirmed to The Advocate on Tuesday that he is the chairman of Gumbo PAC. Ourso is a former executive director of the state Democratic Party. His firm worked on Charlie Melancon’s 2010 race for Senate against Vitter.
But Ourso said Gumbo PAC is a non-partisan effort to bring voters information on Vitter’s background.
“He’s been in office along time so he’s built quite a record for himself,” Ourso said. “A lot of people are concerned about the potential of him being governor, but he really hasn’t been put in a position to account for his record.”
Vitter faces Republican Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards in the Oct. 24 election. A runoff will be held Nov. 21 if no candidate takes more than 50 percent of the vote.
Recent polls have showed Vitter in the lead, but not with enough support to avoid a runoff.
Ourso noted Vitter’s front-runner status, leading the pack in fundraising and name recognition so far.
“I really want people to understand that it’s not partisan and not affiliated with any of the candidates,” Ourso said. “The message is going to be based in fact and on Sen. Vitter’s record.”
Ourso declined to comment on the PAC’s strategy moving forward, but said that it plans to use several platforms to bring its message to voters.
“Today’s just day one,” he said.