The first televised debate between the four major gubernatorial candidates was actually a debate between six hopefuls, not just U.S. Sen. David Vitter, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle and state Rep. John Bel Edwards but also little known Cary Deaton and Jeremy Odom. This was one of several reasons it was frustrating to watch. At one point, moderator Scott Walker cut off a good back and forth between Vitter and Angelle over the attack ads both are running to ask Odom about Common Core. "Do you even know where we are?" Walker asked when he balked.
Other quick thoughts:
1) There was almost no time for meaningful discussion about the major issue in the race, the state's financial difficulties. There was lots of talk, though, about Planned Parenthood (all the major candidates except Edwards, the Democrat, would defund it), and about Kentucky clerk Kim Davis (all of the big four except Edwards think she was justified in not issuing same-sex marriage licenses). All were offered the chance to decry additional gun restrictions, and then to talk about their membership in various sporting organizations. Another social issue raised was medicinal marijuana. Only Vitter's against it.
2) Offered the chance, none of the major candidates endorsed a presidential candidate. Not that any of them would be expected to back Gov. Bobby Jindal.
3) As expected, Vitter, who has been less eager to debate than the other candidates, was everyone's chief target. Several opponents brought up his prostitution scandal, albeit indirectly. In the context of the long drug discussion, Dardenne cracked a joke about those who might want to legalize prostitution. Angelle, by far the folksiest of the candidates, said Vitter is wrong on "fornication," "taxation" and "education." Angelle also had one of the evening's other memorable lines. He referred to Vitter as "Senator Pinocchio."