Vance McAllister Won’t Step Down, Despite Cantor’s Call for Resignation

The “˜kissing congressman’ wants to finish his term in Congress.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 08: House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) delivers remarks about his support of charter schools and tax-funded voucher programs that help pay for private and parochial schools at the Brookings Institution January 8, 2014 in Washington, DC. 'Right now, school choice is under attack,' Cantor said. He also said that the House Republicans will work to prevent anything that 'could devastate the growth of education opportunity,' including New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's pledge to charge rent to the wealthiest charter schools. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
National Journal
Elahe Izad
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Elahe Izad
April 29, 2014, 12:39 p.m.

House Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Eric Can­tor asked Louisi­ana Rep. Vance Mc­Al­lister to con­sider resign­ing after the polit­ic­al fal­lout from his “kiss­ing scan­dal,” says the em­battled law­maker.

But Mc­Al­lister, who an­nounced Monday that he won’t seek a second term, is not chan­ging his mind about stay­ing in of­fice through Novem­ber.

“[Can­tor] asked me why I would want to put my­self through this for the next eight months if I’m not run­ning for reelec­tion. He did ask me to con­sider resign­ing, but I re­spect­fully dis­agree with him, and my fam­ily is be­hind my de­cision,” Mc­Al­lister said in a state­ment Tues­day. “I do not feel it’s in my con­stitu­ents’ best in­terest to leave them without rep­res­ent­a­tion for the second time in less than a year. My dis­trict de­serves a voice and a fair elec­tion pro­cess, not an ex­pens­ive po­ten­tial spe­cial elec­tion that be­ne­fits the es­tab­lish­ment.”

It’s been a little over three weeks since a video was leaked to the press, show­ing the mar­ried law­maker, who cam­paigned as a Chris­ti­an con­ser­vat­ive, kiss­ing a then-staffer. He has since apo­lo­gized and said he and his wife de­cided that he not seek a second term.

The Can­tor-Mc­Al­lister meet­ing was first re­por­ted by PoliticoCan­tor has “has fre­quently said that mem­bers of the con­fer­ence should hold them­selves to a high stand­ard of con­duct con­sist­ent with the priv­ilege of serving in the House,” Can­tor spokes­man Rory Cooper said via email. “The ma­jor­ity lead­er thinks the con­gress­man has fallen short of that stand­ard and he told him that he thinks he should resign his seat.”

Later, Mc­Al­lister was asked by re­port­ers wheth­er he feels it’s un­fair that Re­pub­lic­an Rep. Mi­chael Grimm of New York, who has been charged with 20 crim­in­al counts, isn’t fa­cing sim­il­ar calls from lead­er­ship to resign. “I don’t think Mr. Grimm has any­thing to do with me,” Mc­Al­lister said.

Demo­crats charge there is a polit­ic­al reas­on­ing be­hind the Re­pub­lic­an lead­er call­ing on Mc­Al­lister, who has ad­mit­ted to im­pro­pri­et­ies, to step down but not Grimm, who main­tains his in­no­cence. 

“Re­pub­lic­an lead­ers made one thing clear today; it is worse to kiss the wrong per­son in a safe Re­pub­lic­an seat than to face a 20-count crim­in­al in­dict­ment in a swing dis­trict,” said Josh Schwer­in, a spokes­man for Demo­crat­ic Con­gres­sion­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee.

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