'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson's nephew announces congressional campaign

By Jonathan Kaminsky

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - The nephew of "Duck Dynasty" reality TV personality Phil Robertson said on Monday he would run for the U.S. House of Representatives in northeastern Louisiana as a conservative Republican.

The entry of 36-year-old political newcomer Zach Dasher into the race for the seat of Representative Vance McAllister, who was rocked by a sex scandal earlier this year, will test the Robertson clan's clout in Louisiana's largely rural 5th District.

"My basic platform begins with God," Dasher said in a phone interview. "I want to go to D.C. to restore America to what she once was."

Dasher, who is on leave from his sales job at a pharmaceutical company, said he was running with the full backing of his family members made famous by the A&E program "Duck Dynasty," based on their business selling duck hunting supplies.

"Uncle Phil said he's vetted me for 36 years," Dasher said, referring to company founder Phil Robertson, who was briefly suspended from the show last year after making anti-gay remarks.

Members of the Robertson family were not immediately available for comment, a publicist said.

McAllister, a first-term conservative Republican, was aided in his 2013 special election victory by public support from Willie Robertson, another star of the "Duck Dynasty" program.

The political future of the married McAllister was thrown into doubt earlier this year after a video of him kissing a female staffer was made public.

He said in April he would not seek re-election but has since said he is leaving his options open, the Lafayette-based Daily Advertiser newspaper reported.

A spokeswoman for McAllister did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Additional reporting by Lisa Bose McDermott in Texarkana, Arkansas; Writing by Jonathan Kaminsky; Editing by Peter Cooney)