caption="Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honore denied a Senate bid."]
(CNN) - The general who led military relief efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina is denying a report that he may challenge Louisiana Sen. David Vitter in 2010, calling it "speculation and rumors" Sunday.
Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, now a CNN emergency preparedness analyst, said he is moving back to his home state. But "No one's talking to me about running for Senate," Honore said.
"That is a serious rumor that's got started that's created a lot of buzz," said Honore, who left the Army in 2008. But he said he has never declared a party affiliation, and any talk of a Senate run is "all about speculation and rumors."
Honore is best known for taking over a widely criticized relief effort after Katrina flooded most of New Orleans in August 2005. The city's mayor, Ray Nagin, famously described the cigar-chomping three-star general as a "John Wayne dude" who could "get some stuff done."
A Louisiana political Web site reported last week that he was "seriously considering" a Republican primary challenge to Vitter, a first-term Republican who was ensnared in a Washington sex scandal in 2007. Honore said he had received more than 100 e-mails in response to that report, but no news outlet asked him whether it was true before CNN contacted him Sunday.
"That ought to scare the hell out of people in this country," said Honore, who once called a reporter "stuck on stupid" during a nationally televised news conference.
Honore said he plans to continue working as a disaster preparedness consultant, raise money for the Red Cross and teach once he returns to his home state. But he said he also will keep a "close watch" on efforts to rebuild the storm-ravaged Gulf Coast "as a private citizen."
"As of this time, I'm not running for any political office," he said.