What to Watch in Louisiana on Saturday

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Tomorrow, Louisiana voters will head to the polls for a rare Saturday primary. Sen. David Vitter faces a last-minute Republican challenger who doesn't seem to be putting up much of a challenge at all. Chet Traylor, a former Louisiana Supreme Court judge, never managed to raise much money or release a TV ad. He's highlighted Vitter's DC Madam scandal as well as the recent kerfuffle over a Vitter aide who kept his job after allegedly holding his girlfriend at knife-point, but Traylor himself is no angel. He's been accused of infidelity and is currently in a relationship with his stepson's estranged wife.

A recent local poll gave Vitter 74 percent to Traylor's 5, so save for an extreme upset (and everyone learned their Alaska lesson on that front), Vitter will likely face Democratic Rep. Charlie Melancon in the fall. A Public Policy Polling survey from a few days ago found Vitter and Melancon 10 points apart, with a five-point margin of error. The race for Melancon's open House seat represents a pick-up opportunity for Republicans in a district that voted 61 percent for McCain in 2008.

Rep. Joseph Cao, who represents a majority black district, does not face a Republican challenger. Four Democrats are facing off tomorrow, though, and the national Democratic establishment is hoping that one of them will be able to pick up the seat. State Rep. Cedric Richmond is the frontrunner.

Cao triumphed in 2008, becoming the first Republican to hold his seat since 1890, after William Jefferson was indicted on (among other charges) stashing $90,000 in bribe money in his freezer. The circumstances were benevolent, but Cao, who is Vietnamese, has made a good case for himself as an independent Republican who reaches across the aisle (he was the only House Republican to cast a vote for health care reform).    

His reelection prospects will largely rest upon whether or not he can drum up a good portion of his district's black vote. Richmond and two of the other Democratic challengers are black, and some Democratic observers have worried that a third-party candidate named Ron Austin, who is also black, could split the black vote.

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Nicole Allan is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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