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From advisor to opponent 

Chabert may run against Mary Landrieu next year

  After arriving in the Louisiana Senate following a 2009 special election and currently in his first full term, state Sen. Norby Chabert, R-Houma, confirmed he is being courted to oppose U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu in her re-election bid next year. But Chabert — until two years ago a registered Democrat — added he is focused on his work in the Senate for now and any significant thought on a campaign would have to come later. Moreover, Chabert said the U.S. Senate race isn't the only one in his sights. "I'm being asked about a couple of different races," he said.

  Chabert's work on coastal issues and with the oil and gas industry is among the reasons sources say energy interests are encouraging him to run. It's clearly an effort to undercut Landrieu's similar strengths, particularly now that she's in line to chair the powerful Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee if she wins re-election. Even without the chairmanship, Louisiana's senior U.S. senator has a longer record of service in the area of oil and gas issues than Chabert does.

  There's another connection between the two: Chabert served as a consultant to Landrieu during her 2002 re-election campaign. In 2009, he told the Houma Courier, "Doing everything I could to see Sen. Landrieu get elected was a major accomplishment for me. ... And I've learned a lot from Sen. Landrieu as well."

  Asked about his former gig, Chabert said, "It's only fair to say that I worked for her over 10 years ago and I've served for years in elected office, and that is a lot of time to change your views on something — or somebody."

  Landrieu, a New Orleans Democrat, first assumed office on the Hill in 1997 and is considered by Republicans to be a top target nationally in 2014. She already has drawn an opponent in U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, whose 6th District includes Chabert's home. When Cassidy announced in April he would oppose Landrieu, speculation turned to Chabert as a possible candidate for the open U.S. House seat. That speculation could intensify in the coming months if he backs away from challenging Landrieu.

— Jeremy Alford


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