BATON ROUGE, La. -- On the first day of qualifying, Sen. David Vitter is facing more questions than just about his opponent, Rep. Charlie Melancon.
Brent Furer, an aide to Vitter, resigned last month after a story broke that Furer pleaded guilty in 2008 to holding a girlfriend at knifepoint and stabbing her in the hand.
For that incident Vitter disciplined Furer, but he remained on the staff.
But there were reportedly other brushes with the law including a DWI arrest in 2003.
When the Furer story broke, Vitter said he didn't know about his aide's prior arrest record.
"As I said very clearly, I had knowledge of the 2008 incident. He was disciplined. I had no knowledge of these prior events,” he said.
There were reports that not only did Furer remain on the staff, but that he was put in charge of women’s issues.
At qualifying on Wednesday, Vitter avoided direct questions about the incident, but rebuffed that allegation.
“And that’s just of several issues that have been completely misreported. Tonya Newman, Nicole Hebert in my office are assigned to those positions,” Vitter said. “That’s always been the case.”
But Beth Meeks, the executive director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said when she met with Furer in Washington two weeks prior to him resigning, Vitter's office portrayed Furer as the point man on women's issues.
The Furer resignation comes three years after Vitter publicly apologized for acknowledging his involvement with the so-called D.C. Madam.
Melancon said both will play a factor in the race.
“He disappeared for eight months after his indiscretion, and then has disappeared now for what? Day 14, day 17 since the episode with his convicted staffer,” Melancon said.
Eyewitness News Political Analyst Clancy DuBos said Melancon will try to use both incidents as a way to close the gap in funding and in the polls.
“I think Melancon almost has to attack because he starts out trailing Vitter who is the incumbent. Also this is a year in which republicans like Vitter are expected to do well,” DuBos said.
But DuBos said what might not seem close now could easily change.
“I think by the time we get to November 2, this will be a pretty close race.”
Furer had been with Vitter for five years.
Metairie Democrat Cary Deaton and Libertarian candidate Anthony Gentile have also signed up for the Senate race.