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Porn Star Stormy Daniels Considered a U.S. Senate Run in 2009

Last night, porn star Stormy Daniels — whose real name is Stephanie Clifford — sat down with "60 Minutes" to reveal the details of her alleged affair with President Donald Trump. Nearly ten years ago, she was targeting another Republican in Washington, a U.S. senator who had just recovered from a sex scandal of his own.

"Today, I am excited to announce that I am taking the next step in exploring a possible run for United States Senate," Clifford wrote in a news release at the "Draft Stormy" campaign website in May 2009. "Two weeks ago, I embarked on a listening tour where I had the pleasure of hearing the thoughts and concerns of my fellow Louisianans."

Clifford announced that she had formed an exploratory committee to "officially explore the possibility of running for the United States Senate."

The porn star targeted Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), whose phone number showed up in a published list of phone records of Pamela Martin and Associates, a company owned and run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who was known as the "D.C. Madam" and had been convicted by the U.S. government for running a prostitution service.

Hustler identified the phone number as belonging to Vitter in 2007, and the senator issued a written statement taking responsibility for his sin and asking for forgiveness. After a week of self-imposed seclusion, Vitter asked the public for forgiveness while his wife stood by him. National Republicans offered forgiveness.

Clifford, however, sniffed an opportunity. In February 2009, she told The Times-Picayune she had reached out to Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler, to run her political campaign. "I have reached out to him in the last couple of days that I want to discuss if he wants to be my campaign manager," the porn star said.

A political science student at Louisiana State University (LSU), 22-year-old Zach Hudson, told The Times-Picayune that "Draft Stormy" was his brain-child. He and his friends put an ad on Craigslist seeking an adult entertainer to challenge Vitter in the 2010 election. There were no takers, but Hudson came across Stormy Daniels because she posted comments on an LSU fan site.

The LSU student said he has never talked to Daniels and that he was not tied to the Democratic Party in any way, despite having volunteered for some local Democratic campaigns.

"The Louisiana Democratic Party is not affiliated with the 'Draft Stormy' initiative — that movement is a nonpartisan, grass-roots effort," said Scott Jordan, a spokesman for the state party.

Clifford told The Times-Picayune she was initially wary of "Draft Stormy," but was flattered. She embarked on a Louisiana "listening tour," and the potential run sparked a great deal of attention, from CNN, Politico, Jay Leno, and more. In February 2009, Hudson said the website received 180,000 hits. She even considered legally changing her name to "Stormy Daniels."

Clifford's potential run could be dismissed as a publicity stunt, but on the "Draft Stormy" website, she wrote, "I do not take this step lightly."

Clifford did not actually launch a campaign, but the "Draft Stormy" movement in 2009 might suggest long-term political ambitions that might have inspired her recent efforts to slam President Donald Trump.

Vitter survived a challenge from Democratic Rep. Charlie Melançon in 2010, and ran for Louisiana governor in 2015, losing to John Bel Edwards.

Evidence does point to an affair between Clifford and Trump, but the porn star's history suggests there may be more to her "telling her story" than just a need to air out the facts.