Sources: Dardenne plans to endorse Edwards for governor

Sources: Dardenne to endorse Edwards for Governor

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Multiple news outlets are reporting that Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, former Republican candidate for the governor's office, will endorse Democrat John Bel Edwards at an event scheduled for Thursday morning.

The announcement would be the latest in a string of bad news for the Republican candidate, U.S. Sen. David Vitter. Polls released earlier this week showed Vitter losing by wide margins against Edwards.

"It's been a death of a thousand cuts for him over the last few weeks, and this is just another one," said political analyst Jim Engster.

In the months leading up to the first round of elections on October 24, Vitter's television advertisements packed a punch against his Republican rivals.

"He created some real bad blood with Jay Dardenne," Engster said. "They didn't love each other at the start of the election and by the end they really disliked each other intensely."

Dardenne garnered 160,000 votes during the first round of elections. Engster said that while many of his supporters may still stick with the Republican ticket and vote for Vitter, voters have a mind of their own.

"Now that Jay Dardenne has given them the signal to vote for the Democrat, they may go across party lines like the candidate," Engster said.

That could greatly benefit Edwards, who has already seen leads in statewide polls.

"Edwards is in an extremely comfortable position with two weeks to go and something cataclysmic would have to happen for him to lose the race," Engster said.

And while on election night Dardenne said he was looking forward to life as a private citizen, Engster said this endorsement could be a sign of things to come, including a possible run for the Baton Rouge mayor's office.

"He probably could win that election. The only question would be whether Democrats, who have traditionally been for Kip Holden, would vote for him, and this goes a long way toward making a lot of Democratic voters in Baton Rouge feel warm and fuzzy about Jay Dardenne," Engster said.

As for Scott Angelle, Engster said it would be hard for the public service commissioner to throw his support behind David Vitter.

"The question is whether he can bite his lip and support David Vitter after calling him vicious and saying there was a stench in the room," Engster said.

Election Day is November 21, and early voting starts Saturday, November 7.

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