Three weeks after video footage showing him kissing a staffer leaked to the press, Republican Rep. Vance McAllister of Louisiana announced Monday that he won’t seek another term in office.
McAllister — dubbed “the kissing congressman” — told the Monroe, La., News-Star that he and his wife Kelly reached the decision Monday. “I am committed to serving the 5th District to the best of my ability through this term, but I also have to take care of my family as we work together to repair and strengthen the relationship I damaged,” McAllister said.
The first-term congressman and his wife will be in Washington Monday as the House returns from recess, “because she knows it’s going to be a firestorm when I get there and she didn’t want me to face it alone,” McAllister told the paper.
The announcement comes after top state Republicans, including Gov. Bobby Jindal, called for McAllister to resign.
House Speaker John Boehner never explicitly called on McAllister to step down, leaving it up to the freshman to make his own decision. “I expect all members to be held to the highest ethical standards, and this is no different…. He’s got decisions that he has to make,” Boehner said earlier this month.
McAllister was elected to Congress just last November in a hotly contested race for retiring Rep. Rodney Alexander’s seat. State Sen. Neil Riser, the establishment pick who lost to McAllister in a runoff, could run again in November. Riser had the backing of Jindal, Alexander, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, among others.
Alexander, who resigned in August to take a job in the Jindal administration, has not ruled out running for Congress again. “If I felt like the people of Louisiana and the 5th District wanted me for a particular purpose or office, I am willing to serve them,” he told his local paper not long after the scandal broke.
The filing deadline for candidates is Aug. 22 to make it on to the November ballot. Louisiana has a “jungle primary” system in which candidates from all parties compete in a single general election, with a runoff slated for Dec. 6 if no candidate receives 50 percent of the vote.
Luckily for Republicans, McAllister’s district is solidly red. Louisiana State Rep. Jay Morris and Louisiana businessman Harris Brown have expressed interest in the seat.
McAllister will have one of the shortest congressional careers in state history, with the 15th shortest tenure since Louisiana officially became a state, according to Smart Politics. Assuming he leaves office in January, McAllister will have served 413 days in Congress.
The congressman’s office released this full statement from McAllister Monday afternoon:
The past few weeks have been a trying time for my family. As I’ve said before, there’s no doubt I’ve made a mistake. I’ve failed those I care most about and let down the people who elected me to represent them. I take full responsibility for this personal failure and I’m truly sorry for what I’ve done. I have taken this time to reconcile with my wife and kids and I’m forever grateful for their support and forgiveness. The people of the Fifth District of Louisiana need and deserve a voice in Washington. Today, I am announcing that I will not seek re-election, but I will continue to be that voice and will uphold the office to which I was elected to serve for the remainder of my term.
What We're Following See More »
Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."