Vitter Facing Possible Circus Primary: Christian-Right Activist And Porn Star

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Louisiana politics is known for being a bit weird compared to the rest of the country, and it’s starting to look like this cycle will be no exception — with scandal-plagued GOP Sen. David Vitter facing a potential primary challenge from a major Christian-Right activist on the one side, and a porn star on the other.

You might remember this funny moment from the scandal, when Vitter drove into a parking lot sign in his rush to get away from reporters:

Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, told the Politico that he’s considering a primary challenge against Vitter, whose conservative reputation has been damaged by his implication in the D.C. Madam prostitution scandal: “I will say this: I have people in Louisiana encouraging me to consider it.”

Meanwhile, porn star Stormy Daniels is publicly contemplating a bid in the Republican primary herself, in order to cast light on Vitter’s moral hypocrisy. So Vitter could be facing clowns to the left of him, and jokers to the right. But which is which?

To answer that, let’s ask the question: Just who is Tony Perkins?Perkins previously ran for Senate in 2002 as one of three Republican challenges to Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, coming in fourth place with 10% of the vote in Louisiana’s multi-party primary system at the time. He is also a former state Representative who helped pass the state’s “covenant marriage” law, allowing couples to opt for a special form of marriage that makes divorce much more difficult. So obviously, this would be a pretty stark contrast to an incumbent Senator who has been bedeviled by a prostitution scandal.

In 1996, Perkins was the campaign manager for GOP Senate candidate Woody Jenkins, whose campaign was later fined $3,000 for covering up a purchase of David Duke’s phone list. Perkins signed the phone-bank contract with marketing firm Impact Mail, but said he wasn’t aware of the Duke connection and that Jenkins had handled the transaction. When he found out about it, they decided to route the payment through the campaign’s media firm because “politically, we didn’t want to be connected with Duke.”

Louisiana is a conservative, Deep South state, so the winner of the Republican primary would be favored to win, though the Dems could potentially field a strong candidate. But could it be that the porn star is the real values candidate here?

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