Edwards only needs about 25 percent to 30 percent of the non-Vitter Republican vote — and less, if substantial numbers of disaffected Republicans refuse to vote at all (or if Edwards substantially increases his black vote on Nov. 21).You can see the path but it's not going to be easy. If I had to lay odds I'd say Vitter is probably a slightly better than mild favorite. But a lot of people really hate him so he could lose.
A certain percentage (maybe 5 points) of Angelle’s and Dardenne’s combined 34 percent were likely Democrats who voted for one of the two Republicans for various reasons (Baton Rouge-area or Acadiana residents who voted for the home boy). Those Dardenne-Democrats or Angelle-Democrats will come home on Election Day without much effort.
Edwards will have to work to persuade the others to vote for him, but they have already voted against Vitter once. It is not difficult to see how Edwards could peel off a mere 25 percent of the remaining non-Vitter vote by appealing to their disgust or disenchantment with Vitter.
More importantly, in this scenario where Vitter loses to Edwards instead of to a Angelle or Dardenne in the primary, it will mean a more significant shift in direction in Baton Rouge from the way Bobby Jindal had been doing things. People don't like Jindal. Now they can vote against him and Vitter all at once. A smart campaigner might take advantage of that.
We don't really know how smart John Bel is just yet. He hasn't really had to do anything to get where he is. But all indications are he has a real chance to do this. But there's a long way to go, still.