Posted: Jun 29, 2011 8:27 AM by Lauren Wilson & AP
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Republican U.S. Sen. David Vitter is supporting his fellow GOP state leader, Gov. Bobby Jindal, in his re-election bid - in sharp contrast to Jindal's refusal to publicly back the scandal-plagued Vitter a year ago in his Senate race.
Vitter was releasing an email to his supporters Wednesday announcing his Jindal endorsement. An advance copy of the letter was provided to The Associated Press by someone with close ties to the senator.
"I am strongly endorsing Bobby Jindal for governor. I hope you will join with me in doing everything we can to ensure a particularly strong victory for Bobby and our state," Vitter says in the email.
Jindal didn't endorse Vitter in his re-election effort last year against Democrat Charlie Melancon, an election that came three years after Vitter was tainted by a 2007 prostitution scandal. Vitter easily won a second term without the governor's backing.
While not effusive in his praise of the governor, Vitter's said Jindal is "honest and competent. He wants to make government leaner and smarter, not more bloated and intrusive. We must stay on this path."
The email also seeks support for Vitter's group, the Louisiana Committee for a Republican Majority, which is working to elect more conservative state lawmakers.
The letter seems to suggest Jindal could offer more leadership on that front.
"To help Bobby become as engaged and bold as possible in his second term, we need a more conservative legislature, particularly in the state Senate," Vitter says.
Though Jindal had endorsed candidates in previous federal and state races, when Vitter was up for re-election, the governor said he thought voters were "smart enough to make up their own minds."
The snub of Vitter raised complaints in Republican circles, as Jindal backed GOP candidates in federal races around the country at the same time he refused to offer recommendations to voters in his home state.