Louisiana heats up with potential Vitter challenger

February 27, 2009

By Aaron Blake
The Hill

Former Rep. John Cooksey (R-La.) is in the process of putting together a primary challenge to Sen. David Vitter in 2010, according to a prominent Louisiana political website.

BayouBuzz.com reported Friday that Cooksey’s backers have arranged a drafting movement to encourage him to get in.

The site quotes an anonymous Cooksey adviser saying that the Monroe ophthalmologist is prepared to enter the race and spend $200,000 of his own money, provided the support is there for a primary to Vitter.

Cooksey represented the state’s 5th congressional district for three terms between 1997 and 2003. He ran against Sen. Mary Landrieu (R-La.) in 2002, taking 14 percent in an open primary field that included Landrieu and two other prominent Republicans.

His 2002 campaign was doomed by a remark he made comparing terrorists’ turbans to diapers attached with fan belts.

There has been much talk about a potential Vitter primary ever since the conservative senator was implicated in the D.C. Madam prostitution scandal in 2007.

Given the nature of Vitter’s troubles, there is also a drafting movement to lure porn star Stormy Daniels into the race.

Louisiana Secretary of State Jay Dardenne and another 2002 candidate, Family Research Council head Tony Perkins, have also been mentioned as possible GOP opponents.

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