Sens. Ted Cruz and David VitterAP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal

NEW ORLEANS—GOP presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum are assisting Sen. David Vitter in the final week of the Louisiana gubernatorial runoff campaign. Each of them recorded robocalls this week to support Vitter, focusing on issues that will fire up social conservatives to get to the polls. Vitter spokesman Luke Bolar said he believes a third call from Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is also in the works.

Cruz’s recorded call emphasized early voting, which began Nov. 7 and ended Saturday, and touted Vitter’s conservative bona fides. In his call, Cruz says: “Last month, over a half million Republicans didn’t vote. Your early vote is critical to keeping liberal Democrat John Bel Edwards, who endorsed Obama on national television, from becoming governor. David Vitter and I have fought side-by-side against President Obama’s illegal amnesty, we fought to end the politician’s special exemption from Obamacare, and most recently we fought to end taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. Don’t allow a liberal, Obama-supporting Democrat to become governor of Louisiana. Please, don’t forget to vote Vitter for governor.”  

Santorum’s recording is a little more unique. This week, the Vitter campaign sent around links to a story that appeared on a local conservative blog, The Hayride, which portends that Edwards skipped a candidate forum on Thursday to attend a meet-and-greet at a nightclub. The blog also posted videos that a tracker for America Rising captured of Edwards arriving at the club.

On the call, Santorum says: "I must admit I am appalled. Just last week, a group of Christian churches, the Family Forum, hosted a gubernatorial forum and invited both candidates. Only David Vitter attended. Democrat John Bel Edwards cancelled an appearance at the state’s pro-life debate in favor of attending a voter drive held at a risqué adult hip-hop nightclub in New Orleans. You just can’t make this stuff up. Please visit Hayride.com to see the video footage.”

Vitter is the surprising underdog against Edwards in the Nov. 21 runoff. Edwards is peeling off meaningful support from Vitter among his base. The recorded calls are part of a broader attempt by Vitter to shore up support among social conservative voters in the final days of the race—some of whom could be turned off by renewed debates over Vitter’s past prostitution scandal and thus open to supporting Edwards, who is campaigning as a pro-life, culturally conservative Democrat.

Among the field of 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls, Vitter was also endorsed by Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Bush held a fundraiser for Vitter in April and Christie campaigned for him in May, but none of the three has done anything publicly for Vitter since he came under renewed fire for allegations surrounding his prostitution scandal in the months directly before the October primary. 

This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.

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