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Louisiana: Dardenne Continues to Weigh Vitter Challenge

While the names of other would-be primary challengers to Sen. David Vitter (R) have come and gone, Secretary of State Jay Dardenne (R) said this week that he remains on the fence about a 2010 Senate bid.

“I’m continuing to get a lot of encouragement from a lot of people,” Dardenne said Tuesday. “I have not decided to run, nor have I ruled out the possibility that I may run.”

In the past month, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins (R) and former Rep. John Cooksey (R) passed on challenging Vitter, but the popular Dardenne continues to be the most-watched potential primary challenger in the Bayou State.

Dardenne said that Vitter’s recent run-in with a security alarm and an airport official at Dulles International Airport, first reported by Roll Call, and the media attention it generated prompted additional calls from supporters who believe that Vitter is no longer the man to carry the party’s banner in 2010. The Transportation Security Administration closed its investigation into the airport matter earlier this week, finding that Vitter did not pose a security threat.

But the continued chatter hasn’t kept Vitter from moving forward with his fundraising efforts. This week, Vitter’s campaign sent out a solicitation based on President Barack Obama’s budget proposal.

The possible Democratic field in the Senate race remains in flux, with several possible candidates in the mix. The Democrats most often mentioned are former Reps. Chris John and Don Cazayoux, businessman Jim Bernhard and state Sen. Eric LaFleur.

LaFleur said this week that he’s been in touch with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee about the race and “we are going in that direction.”

However, LaFleur said he doesn’t expect to make a final decision on a Senate bid until after the state legislative session ends.

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