After nearly two decades on Capitol Hill, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) will leave political office at the end of 2016. The far-right lawmaker lost a gubernatorial race in Louisiana last year – a contest he was supposed to win – at least in part because of his prostitution scandal, and in the wake of his defeat, Vitter understandably concluded it was time to walk away.
The race to replace him hasn’t generated much national attention, largely because the seat is very likely to remain in Republican hands. That said, there are quite a few top-tier GOP candidates vying to fill Vitter’s vacancy, and the race received a significant jolt this week when one of the leading contenders was confronted with alarming allegations. The Washington Post reported:
On Tuesday, journalist Ethan Brown published a book “Murder in the Bayou” detailing the killing of eight prostitutes from 2005 to 2009 in Jefferson Davis Parish. In one of the chapters, Brown alleges that [Rep. Charles Boustany] was involved with the prostitutes (though not the killings). […]The book also alleges that a former Boustany aide helped run a hotel frequented by the prostitutes.
Particularly given Vitter’s experience with hookers, allegations like these are bound to get some attention in a competitive Senate race.
Boustany, widely seen as a top contender for the seat, said through a spokesperson this week that the claims are “completely false,” and the congressman’s wife issued a statement of her own, rejecting the allegations and accusing Boustany’s rivals of spreading “lies.”
And that’s where this story takes a funny turn.
Louisiana State Treasurer John Kennedy, another leading Republican contender in this Senate race, apparently took offense yesterday to the notion that he might have had something to do with disseminating this story, so his campaign issued a rather amazing statement.
“I want to be very clear,” Kennedy said in part, “that my campaign played absolutely no role in creating this story alleging Congressman Boustany’s sexual relationships with prostitutes that were later murdered.”
Well, OK then.
The New York Times’ Alex Burns called it “a tour-de-force denial.” The Washington Post’s Amber Phillips added, “Kennedy wants nothing to do with these allegations that his main Republican opponent was involved in anything having to do with the death of prostitutes. Nothing. Also, murder and prostitutes.”
Postscript: Martin Guillory, a former Boustany campaign aide, apparently operated the hotel where the alleged trysts took place. Guillory has said he was unaware of any untoward activities, but Boustany nevertheless fired him last week.