Melancon served Louisiana's third Congressional district -- the Gulf region hit hardest by the BP oil spill.
Lacking statewide recognition, and swimming against a GOP tide, Melancon knew he had one way to win: remind voters of Vitter's so-called "serious sin."
His efforts took the form of the most punishing campaign ads of the cycle, including a two minute cable segment re-enacting Vitter's crime and recreating the crime scene. Vitter struck back with widely panned ad, which charged Melancon providing immigrants lavish incentives to move to the United States illegally.
Vitter has made no secret of his desire to rise through the ranks of the Environment and Public Works Committee, where he'd have significant influence over energy policy (an outcome which would please his friends in the oil industry).
Melancon, a Blue Dog, served three terms in the House. He voted for the Recovery Act and for Wall Street reform, but opposed Democratic leadership on climate change legislation and the health care bill. Despite opposing his party on signature issues, though, Melancon could not escape Vitter's efforts to tie him to Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama.
|Republican David Vitter celebrates U.S. Senate win over Democrat Charlie Melancon|