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UPDATE: Cicione: Loughlin to Return to Active Duty

I spoke with Loughlin briefly this morning, before he went on the air as a fill-in host at talk radio station WPRO. He confirms that he is, indeed, deploying to Iraq sometime in the next 30 days (he's not allowed to say exactly when). But he says he is still very much interested in a potential run for Congress.

Loughlin downplayed the significance of a prolonged absence, saying supporters can raise money for him in his absence.

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Giovanni Cicione, former chairman of the state Republican Party, tells me that former State Representative John J. Loughlin, who made a strong bid for Congress last fall, has commited to a stint of active military duty and, presumably, won't run again in 2012.

I've got a call into Loughlin, a lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard, and will post any response.

If Loughlin is, indeed, out, that puts the focus squarely on the state's recently retired top cop, Brendan Doherty, who has been talking with GOP strategists about a potential run against freshman Congressman David Cicilline.

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