Voters spoke loudly that “character matters” when they rejected U.S. Sen. David Vitter as governor, the president of the state’s major business lobby said Monday.

“The race began as a referendum on his well-chronicled personal issues and polarizing approach and he was never able to change that topic,” Louisiana Association of Business and Industry president Stephen Waguespack wrote. “The voters were dialed in on those issues and did not budge.”

LABI’s political action committees endorsed Vitter and contributed to his campaign.

Waguespack noted Republican Vitter’s “staggering” defeat Saturday to Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards.

“The voters clearly make character a top priority,” Waguespack wrote in his LABI column. “The electorate wants to like the individual as much as they like the positions taken…Voters are looking for leaders who are sincere and trustworthy.”

Waguespack said Vitter’s defeat should not be seen as an indication that Louisiana is going more liberal in its politics.

“Louisianan’s elected the more conservative candidates in the other two statewide races, providing clear evidence that the voters have not drifted more liberal….but they have clearly drifted away from Sen. Vitter. So much so, he announced Saturday night that he will not seek re-election next year to his Senate seat, a wise and statesman-like decision.”