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Riser rising 

Making a run for Alexander's seat in Congress

  One day after U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman, told the Monroe News-Star he will not seek re-election in 2014, he announced he would be resigning Sept. 26 to join Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration as head of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs. Alexander is fond of surprises. When he switched parties from Democrat to Republican in 2004, he did so just minutes before qualifying closed in his re-election campaign, hobbling chances of any possible Democratic opponent.

  A special election will be held Oct. 19 to fill Alexander's 5th Congressional District seat; qualifying will be Aug. 19-21.

  State Sen. Neil Riser, R-Columbia, was mentioned immediately as the party favorite to fill the position. Riser launched a "Riser for Congress" website ( the day after Alexander's announcement. Riser has been making quiet moves to run for Congress for at least two years in anticipation of Alexander's eventual retirement. Endorsements quickly followed from GOP Congressmen Charles Boustany of the 3rd District, John Fleming of the 4th District and Steve Scalise of the 1st District, and a two-years-dormant Twitter account belonging to Riser sprang to life again.

— Kevin Allman

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