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Hunt Downer In, Nickie Monica Out 

  The field continues to evolve in the upcoming election for the 3rd Congressional District seat being vacated by Congressman Charlie Melancon, who is running for the U.S. Senate against incumbent David Vitter. State Rep. Nickie Monica, R-LaPlace, says he has decided not to run because National Guard Maj. Gen. Hunt Downer, a fellow Republican from Houma and former speaker of the state House, is going to make the race. Monica was among the earliest — and most vocal — potential candidates just a year ago, but his campaign coffers ($150 at last count) did not auger well for his budding candidacy. The recently retired Downer, meanwhile, may be looking for ways to pass the time. Elsewhere, attorney and state Rep. Damon Baldone, D-Houma, could still become the best self-financed candidate in the race. An unstable environment for Democrats could make the contest a tough one for Baldone, if he decides to run. State Natural Resources Secretary Scott Angelle of Breaux Bridge, a Democrat who many expect to switch to the GOP, was the subject of much buzz a few months ago, but that has died down — as have his comments on the race. His departmental press office, however, seems to be issuing more statements containing Angelle's musings on national topics. New Iberia attorney Jeff Landry, a Republican, is already well entrenched in the northern half of the district, while Democrat Ravi Sangisetty of Houma, a newbie, has amassed some surprising support. Oil field manager Kristian Magar, a Republican from New Iberia, is another contender. Qualifying is July 7-9. — Jeremy Alford

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