Even before its officially under way, Louisiana’s 2010 Senate race, featuring incumbent Sen. David Vitter, is fast becoming a national focal point of the midterm election cycle. With recent insider reports that the Democrats will be fielding a formidable challenger, aside from a porn star that is, to sex-scandal plagued Vitter, the race has been moving up the charts of political insider’s elections to watch. Nate Silver’s political blog, fivethirtyeight.com, has moved the race up to No. 10 on its list of Senate seats that could likely see a change in party. The Cook Report is also keeping tabs on the race, and has Louisiana listed as a pink state, for “leaning Republican.”

Vitter’s most likely opponent appears to be U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon, but Shaw Group CEO Jim Bernhardt has also expressed interest in the race. (John Maginnis reports the two are currently in discussions about one of them stepping aside for the other). Polls show Vitter with a slight lead on either. Vitter also has $3.2 million in the bank for his re-election.

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