With less than a month remaining before the Oct. 22 election, the race between Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, who wants Dardenne’s job, is getting heated as the two trade long-distance barbs. Both men are Republicans and evidently unaware of Ronald Reagan’s “11th Commandment.”

Dardenne has been hammering Nungesser for cancelling appearances at a pair of forums — one on Friday and a second on Monday — that Dardenne attended, telling the Baton Rouge Press Club on Monday, “When you tell somebody in advance, ‘I can’t make it — I have a conflict,’ that’s entirely different from making a commitment like Billy did today and then deciding, ‘I don’t want to go face Jay Dardenne.”

Dardenne has likened Nungesser’s campaign strategy to that of Sen. David Vitter, who is backing Nungesser in the race, accusing Nungesser of dodging one-on-one debates; burdened with the D.C. Madam baggage, Vitter followed a similar tack last year in his successful re-election bid against then-Congressman Charlie Melancon. A handful of Vitter’s staff members are working for the Nungesser campaign.

Citing scheduling conflicts, Nungesser is upping the vitriol, telling The Times-Picayune this week, ““[Dardenne] is a coward and a liar. He will get put in his place.”

Nungesser also released a statement attacking Dardenne’s integrity in response to the Dardenne campaign attempting to make hay out of an unpaid IRS tax lien on one of his businesses — an issue he says grew out of the upheaval of Hurricane Katrina and has long since been resolved:

This entire issue is concerning the filing of W-2 employer forms for one of my companies following Hurricane Katrina. There was some confusion in the filing, but this situation was cleared up years ago and the lien is in the process of being removed by the IRS. This truly shows Jay Dardenne’s complete disregard of the devastation Katrina caused for so many families and businesses in LA. How sad that he would twist the truth for his own personal political gain. But what else should we expect from a lying, career politician that is trying to cover up a record of increased taxes, legislative pay raises and lifetime health benefits for himself and his cronies.

Read more here.

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