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Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
Email: arodrigue@wwltv.com | Twitter: @ashleyrwwl

NEWORLEANS-With the presidential race not quite out of the country's mind, some local leaders are already talking about defending their elected seats in Congress.

U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana, spent Friday's lunch hour meeting and greeting the St. Tammany Business Community. Some might say it's the start of her re-election bid and she's not denying it.

'While I'll run as a Democrat, I'll serve as an American and that's what I've always done,' she said.

Analysts, however, say the election in two years may be Landrieu's most challenging, despite success in state and national politics for more than 20 years.

'Her biggest weakness in 2014 is going to be who the president is,' said political consultant James Hartman, 'With mid-term elections, there will be a significant swing and of course, Louisiana is more and more conservative as the years go on, so I think her biggest obstacle will be that she's in a democratic senate, as a democrat, in a democratic administration.'

Landrieu says the political temperature across the country doesn't bother her.

'The people of Louisiana know they can count on me to put Louisiana interests first,' she said, 'To fight for them for a fair share of revenue sharing, coastal restoration and true education reform.'

And Landrieu is already pushing that message, especially to small communities, with small businesses. That's why analysts say she's just tough to beat no matter what other factors are in play.

Hartman said, 'All of her elections have been very close, but she has excellent fund raising and political operations in place, she's very strong.'

Landrieu says there's still plenty of work to do before officially campaigning and analysts say opponents will be keeping a close eye on that work.

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