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We've got a real race in Louisiana

From NBC's Mark Murray
Over the past couple of months, Senate Republicans have had the recruiting luck (in Florida with Charlie Crist and in Illinois with Mark Kirk), while Democrats haven't (not being able to convince Lisa Madigan to run in Illinois).

But Democrats now have their man in Louisiana -- Rep. Charlie Melancon, who will take on incumbent Sen. David Vitter (R) next year. Today, Melancon made it official in a statement and video: "... I'm announcing my candidacy for the US Senate to replace David Vitter, because Louisiana deserves better. Louisiana needs a different approach in Washington, DC. More bi-partisan. More disciplined. More honest and with a whole lot more common sense."

Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Bob Menendez celebrated the news in a statement. "I have every confidence that Charlie Melancon will run a strong campaign," he said. "And by next November, voters will want him serving as an independent voice for Louisiana in the United State Senate."

The National Republican Senatorial Committee countered, "Whether he's championing President Obama's bloated spending agenda, supporting the Democrats' job-killing card check legislation, or voting hand-in-hand with Speaker Pelosi 93 percent of the time in 2008, Charlie Melancon has clearly demonstrated that he is not in touch with the issues that are important to the people of Louisiana."