Porn star explores Senate run

May 21, 2009 3:33:38 PM PDT
Porn star Stormy Daniels said Thursday she has formed a committee to explore a possible run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican David Vitter and will begin raising money for a potential 2010 campaign. Daniels, in an e-mail news release, said she will soon visit western and northern Louisiana to hear from voters. Brian Welsh, her spokesman, said he would serve on the committee but declined to discuss details. He said committee members and other details will be released soon, along with plans for the continuation of Daniels' "listening tour," which began in early May with appearances in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

Daniels has said she is seriously considering the race as the result of a draft movement reportedly started by a New Orleans college student after Vitter's phone number appeared on the records of a Washington prostitution ring in 2007. She insists she is not seeking publicity for her films or simply attempting to embarrass Vitter, whose family values reputation took a hit as a result of the scandal.

A Web site for Daniels solicits contributions of up to $2,400 -- the maximum amount individuals are permitted give to a candidate for federal office.

According to the Federal Elections Commission, Daniels does not have to file federal campaign finance reports until she becomes a candidate and has raised $5,000. Once those criteria are met, she will have to register as a candidate with the Secretary of the Senate and any money raised or spent during the exploratory phase will have to be reported.

The Stormy Daniels Senate Exploratory Committee is registered with the Louisiana Secretary of State's Office as a limited liability corporation. So far, Welsh is listed as the only "member or manager."

Welsh has worked for Democratic campaigns but said he has been working for Daniels as an unpaid volunteer and that the state and national parties have nothing to do with the effort. "I haven't worked for the party in months," he said.

Daniels and Welsh both have said that she has not decided on a party affiliation.

Vitter kept a low profile for months after the prostitution scandal broke but has emerged over the past year as a vocal conservative critic of government bailouts of businesses and of the tax, spending and homeland security policies of President Barack Obama. His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Daniels committee on Thursday.

He admitted to a "serious sin" in the Washington prostitution matter but has steadfastly refused to answer questions. He has denied other allegations involving prostitution in New Orleans. He has raised $2.5 million for the 2010 campaign. So far, nobody has announced plans to run against him in the Republican primary or the general election.

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