Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-LA), a leading Blue Dog in the House, has officially his announced his much-expected Senate campaign against Sen. David Vitter, the Republican and staunch conservative whose career became mired in the D.C. Madam prostitution scandal.
This race could end up as a top-tier battle, with lots of money and lots of attacks between the two camps. A survey from a month ago by Public Policy Polling (D) put Vitter ahead of Melancon 44%-32% -- that is, the incumbent is below 50%, and the challenger lacking in name recognition. At the same time, the Republicans could be favored to pick up Melancon's House seat, as John McCain carried it by 61%-37% in 2008.
Here's Melancon's announcement video:
"I'm announcing my candidacy for the U.S. Senate to replace David Vitter, because Louisiana deserves better," Melancon said, taking a shot at the incumbent. "Louisiana needs a different approach: More bipartisan, more disciplined, more honest, and with a whole lot more common sense."