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Louisiana congressman caught kissing staffer seeks re-election

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - A Republican U.S. congressman from Louisiana announced on Monday that he will seek re-election in November, reversing an earlier decision he would not run after he was caught on camera kissing a staffer.

Representative Vance McAllister's change of heart sets up a clash of candidates with ties to "Duck Dynasty," an A&E reality television program, in northeastern Louisiana's largely rural 5th District.

"Today, after consulting with my wife and family, I have made a decision to run for re-election," McAllister said in a statement. "Without a doubt this decision comes after much thought and prayer."

McAllister, who won the seat last year in a special election in which he ran as a social and fiscal conservative, was aided in that race by the endorsement of Willie Robertson, a star of the "Duck Dynasty" program.

Among his challengers in the November open primary will be Zach Dasher, a fellow Republican and a pharmaceutical company salesman who is the nephew of "Duck Dynasty" family patriarch Phil Robertson.

Dasher, a political newcomer, announced his candidacy earlier this month and said he has the support of the Robertson family.

In April, McAllister said that he would not seek re-election after a Louisiana newspaper posted a surveillance video showing him in a passionate embrace with his scheduler, Melissa Peacock, in his Louisiana office. Peacock has resigned.

A publicist for the Robertson family did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

(Reporting by Jonathan Kaminsky; Editing by Susan Heavey)