Three major gubernatorial candidates to debate Monday

Left to right: Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, Rep. John Bel Edwards and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle (Source: James Sparvero/WAFB)

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle and state Rep. John Bel Edwards, D-Amite, are all expected to attend Monday night’s gubernatorial debate at the new Louisiana Governor’s Mansion.

U.S. Sen. David Vitter, however, is not participating in the debate.

Analysts say the front-runner Republican feels he has nothing to gain by attending another debate less than a week before Election Day.

“He does not want to talk about his past,” political analyst Jim Engster said. “He feels there’s more to lose by talking about it than not talking about it.”

With Vitter a no show, Engster said expect his opponents, especially the other two Republicans, to attack the senator’s personal life.

“Scott Angelle and Jay Dardenne are going to probably take it to Sen. Vitter in hopes that they can surpass him and get into second place and make a runoff with John Bel Edwards,” Engster explained.

The polls suggest a runoff could happen in this year’s governor’s race.

A 9News survey released last week showed Edwards and Vitter at the top, while Dardenne and Angelle disappointingly polled just single digits. Analysts say any final momentum may come down to money and Vitter has the most to go around.

“Money always means something in politics and Sen. Vitter has had more commercials and there will be an avalanche of direct mail pieces sent to people’s homes in the last few days,” Engster added.

Election Day is Saturday.

Copyright 2015 WAFB. All rights reserved.

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