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'Duck Dynasty' relative running for Congress; incumbent was ensnared in kissing scandal

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BATON ROUGE, La. - A nephew of "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson says he is running for the Louisiana congressional seat held by Vance McAllister, who was elected with the support of the reality TV show family and later was wrapped up in scandal when video surfaced showing him kissing a married staffer.

Zach Dasher, a 36-year-old Republican who never has run for office, said in a statement Monday announcing his candidacy for the Nov. 4 election that he opposed President Barack Obama's health care overhaul and abortion and supports a constitutional amendment requiring that Congress balance the budget.

"I got to looking around at the problems in politics today, and what I see in Washington, D.C., is no God. There is no God. The elite political class thinks they can be running our lives," he said in an interview with The Associated Press.

"I think there's a vacuum in D.C. of people who understand where rights come from. Rights don't come from men. They come from God."

McAllister initially said he would not seek re-election after the security video showing him kissing a married staffer became public in April, but he's been less definitive recently, saying he'll make a decision by the August candidate sign-up period.

Dasher said his decision wasn't influenced by what happened with McAllister. He said he met with his extended family, including the stars of the A&E reality TV show, at cousin Al Robertson's home to discuss the congressional race. Dasher's mom is the sister of Phil and Silas "Uncle Si" Robertson.

"We sat down as a family this past week when we were deciding what we wanted to do. Being that closely connected, this is about them, too," Dasher said. "We got our bellies full and then we sat around in a big circle and then we prayed. We prayed about this candidacy that this would be something real. And the family was really excited."

He said he expects the famous members of his family to be involved in his campaign.

Dasher said he's worked in the pharmaceutical industry and in real estate. He said he's taken an unpaid leave of absence from the biotech company where he worked to campaign for the 5th District seat.

The 5th District covers all or part of 24 parishes, from northeast and central Louisiana into southeastern parishes bordering Mississippi.

At least three other candidates — two Republicans and a Libertarian — have entered the race.

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