At least five Republican politicians who turned up on a list of about 30 elected officials endorsing U.S. Sen. David Vitter in Saturday’s gubernatorial runoff say they should not have been included.
Kenner Police Chief Michael Glaser on Thursday said he actually was part of a group of 25 Jefferson Parish officials who a day earlier endorsed Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards and that Vitter’s campaign had called to apologize for putting him on the list.
Jefferson Parish Councilwoman-elect Jennifer Van Vrancken, Jefferson Parish Councilman Ben Zahn, Kenner City Councilman Dominick Impastato and Kenner City Councilwoman Maria DeFrancesch all said they routinely support GOP candidates but for this race decided to not formally endorse either man.
Vitter spokesman Luke Bolar suggested the mix-up might have been the result of a simple miscommunication between some of the officials in question and campaign staffers rounding up endorsements.
Still, Edwards’ campaign accused Vitter — who is trailing in the polls — of eleventh-hour shenanigans.
“This is one of many examples of David Vitter’s desperation in an attempt to save his failing campaign,” said Mary-Patricia Wray, a campaign spokeswoman. “He will lie, cheat, steal and do whatever it takes.”
Glaser, Van Vrancken, Zahn, Impastato and DeFrancesch all said they weren’t sure how they ended up being counted as Vitter endorsements. Their best guess was that it might have happened because they were invited to a Nov. 13 event in Metairie in which several Republican parish politicians announced they were supporting Vitter; they all said they didn’t make it because of scheduling conflicts.
“I was never asked for — and never gave — an endorsement to either candidate, and that remains the case,” Impastato said. “It’s nothing against either one.”
A few others who didn’t want to speak for attribution said their names were included on the list without explicit permission but that they didn’t want to publicly disavow the endorsement. Several others confirmed they had indeed endorsed Vitter.