- Associated Press - Thursday, August 27, 2015

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The super PAC created to boost David Vitter’s candidacy for governor is starting its hefty $2 million advertising blitz a bit unexpectedly, praising the Republican U.S. senator rather than trashing his competitors.

Political action committees, which can independently advocate for candidates but can’t coordinate with their campaigns, often are seen as groups that can attack opponents without the candidates’ involvement.

Instead of a hit piece, the first TV ad by the Fund for Louisiana’s Future - to begin running Friday - touts Vitter as a “reformer with results.” The narrator describes the senator as having a plan to create jobs, expand skills training, lower taxes and lessen corruption.

The 30-second spot was provided to The Associated Press before its scheduled release.

Joel DiGrado, executive director of the Fund for Louisiana’s Future, said the spot will be launched first in the Baton Rouge and Lafayette areas, with other media markets to be added later. It’s part of a plan to run ads continuously until the Oct. 24 election.

“This is the beginning of what is going to be a $2 million buying plan for September and October,” DiGrado said Thursday. “This is the first of what’s going to be a lot of ads.”

With two months before the election, the TV advertising battle is just beginning.

Vitter, sitting on the largest campaign account, began running ads last week. Republican Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle rolled out his first ad months ago, trying to build name recognition.

Republican Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards haven’t yet gone up on TV but are expected to do so soon.

Questions have lingered about how super PACs will get involved, particularly the Fund for Louisiana’s Future, which reported having $4.4 million in its account in the last fundraising figures.

Super PACs created to support Angelle and Dardenne have been spending dollars on television as well, though they have shallower accounts than the Vitter-allied fund.

DiGrado said Vitter is in a strong position in the governor’s race, so the Fund for Louisiana’s Future wanted to “amplify that” with a positive ad. He left open, however, the possibility that attacks could be on the horizon as the race develops.

“We’re going to be nimble, and we’re going to keep following what we think is going to be informing to voters and most helpful to Sen. Vitter,” he said. “We can change directions.”



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