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|Dardenne still looking at challenge to Vitter|
Secretary of State Jay Dardenne hasn't ruled out challenging U.S. Sen. David Vitter for the Republican nomination in the 2010 Senate race.
Dardenne also says he will oppose Vitter, who will seek a second, six-year term next year, if he believes he can mount a successful challenge. Dardenne said he has received a "great deal" of encouragement to run against Vitter among voters throughout Louisiana.
Dardenne delivered his remarks in an interview with The Ouachita Citizen late last week when he visited the Twin Cities.
"I'm certainly considering it (opposing Vitter)," said Dardenne, R-Baton Rouge. "I haven't made a decision one way or the other but the people are certainly making me consider doing so."
Dardenne said he has not been courting supporters for a Senate campaign. Instead, according to Dardenne, a race against Vitter would be the result of a grassroots effort.
"It (interest in the race)really has resulted from people contacting me," Dardenne said. "I haven't done anything to initiate this."
Vitter drew national attention two years ago when he acknowledged his involvement with a Washington, D.C.-escort service.
Though Vitter has come under intense criticism from the state and national Democratic Parties, Vitter continues to enjoy high approval ratings among Republican voters in Louisiana. According to one knowledgeable source, Vitter has an 80 percent approval rating among registered Republicans.
Vitter's support among Louisiana Republicans has been aided by his persistent opposition to President Obama, who remains widely unpopular in the state.
Dardenne said the encouragement he's received among voters prompted him to consider a campaign for the Senate. However, he would not say which factors would help him decide on whether to oppose Vitter.
"I'll have to gauge whether or not it's something I really want to do," Dardenne said. "Then I'll have to decide if I have the support to be successful."