BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Three of the major contenders in the Louisiana governor's race are readying for another debate Wednesday, this one without Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter.
With two weeks to go before the Oct. 24 election, Republican Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards will face each other again on television.
The hour-long debate, hosted by WVLA-TV, is set for 7 p.m. before an audience at a Baton Rouge school. It will air on TV and radio stations around Louisiana.
Vitter, whose front-runner status has taken hits in recent polls, won't be in attendance. He's only participated in one TV debate so far, though Vitter's campaign says he's agreed to another at Louisiana Tech University on Oct. 15.
Angelle, Dardenne and Edwards have criticized the U.S. senator, saying he skips most events where he can't see questions in advance.
Vitter had led the candidate field for months, but his poll numbers in recent weeks have slipped as outside groups have slammed him in TV and radio spots reminding voters of his 2007 prostitution scandal and as other candidates bolstered their own advertising.
Angelle and Dardenne, however, have been unable to pull ahead of their GOP rival because they are battling over the same voters. They've also been hit with attack ads by both Vitter and a super PAC supporting him.
Edwards appears headed to the Nov. 21 runoff, based on a solid Democratic support base.
Louisiana's open primary places all candidates, regardless of party, in an election against each other. If no one receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters advance to a runoff.
Gov. Bobby Jindal, running for the GOP presidential nomination, is term-limited and can't run for re-election.
List of TV stations, radio stations and websites airing the debate: http://bit.ly/1KTEAid
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Posted on Wed, October 7, 2015
by MELINDA DESLATTE, Associated Press