UKIP has refused to confirm growing speculation that the East Worthing and Shoreham MP seat is one of its key nationwide targets in the 2015 general election.
The Conservative constituency is rumoured to be among the top 12 targets for the party in its race to gain its first MP.
But UKIP West Sussex leader and parliamentary candidate Mike Glennon refused to confirm or deny the rumours.
Historical statistics, the mood on the street and local membership were all factors to take into consideration, he argued.
“Two years ago, we had no councillors across Worthing, Lancing or Shoreham. Now we have 21, ranging from parish, through district and borough up to county level,” he said.
“At this stage, however, I’ll not confirm East Worthing and Shoreham as a prime objective until further analysis has been carried out.”
The constituency has been a Tory stronghold, held by Tim Loughton since its boundaries were redrawn in 1997.
Mr Loughton’s rivals would have to overturn a majority of more than 11,000 to emerge victorious.
Mr Loughton said he looked forward to the election battle.
He said: “I always relish a challenge and have fought every election since becoming MP in 1997 as if a marginal seat.
“The truth is that the opposition in Adur and Worthing only come out of the woodwork when they want votes at election time and that includes UKIP.”
UKIP again attracted national attention last week as MP Douglas Carswell shocked the Conservatives by defecting to UKIP.
Leader Nigel Farage hinted more defections could happen in the coming months.
Asked about potential defections, Mr Glennon added: “For the time being, I’m afraid, that’s for us to know and you to guess. I’d gladly tell you the shocking details, but it might end up all over the front page.”