Vance McAllister Kisses Congress Goodbye

The Louisiana Republican won’t seek reelection, but doesn’t plan to resign.

National Journal
Sarah Mimms and Elahe Izadi
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Sarah Mimms and Elahe Izadi
April 28, 2014, 10:06 a.m.

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 »
STAKES ARE HIGH
Debate Could Sway One-Third of Voters
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 34% of registered voters think the three presidential debates would be extremely or quite important in helping them decide whom to support for president. About 11% of voters are considered 'debate persuadables'—that is, they think the debates are important and are either third-party voters or only loosely committed to either major-party candidate."

Source:
YOU DON’T BRING ME FLOWERS ANYMORE
Gennifer Flowers May Not Appear After All
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

Will he or won't he? That's the question surrounding Donald Trump and his on-again, off-again threats to bring onetime Bill Clinton paramour Gennifer Flowers to the debate as his guest. An assistant to flowers initially said she'd be there, but Trump campaign chief Kellyanne Conway "said on ABC’s 'This Week' that the Trump campaign had not invited Flowers to the debate, but she didn’t rule out the possibility of Flowers being in the audience."

Source:
HAS BEEN OFF OF NEWSCASTS FOR A WEEK
For First Debate, Holt Called on NBC Experts for Prep
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS

NBC's Lester Holt hasn't hosted the "Nightly News" since Tuesday, as he's prepped for moderating the first presidential debate tonight—and the first of his career. He's called on a host of NBC talent to help him, namely NBC News and MSNBC chairman Andy Lack; NBC News president Deborah Turness; the news division's senior vice president of editorial, Janelle Rodriguez; "Nightly News" producer Sam Singal, "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd, senior political editor Mark Murray and political editor Carrie Dann. But during the debate itself, the only person in Holt's earpiece will be longtime debate producer Marty Slutsky.

Source:
WHITE HOUSE PROMISES VETO
House Votes to Bar Cash Payments to Iran
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The House passed legislation late Thursday that would prohibit the federal government from making any cash payments to Iran, in protest of President Obama's recently discovered decision to pay Iran $1.7 billion in cash in January. And while the White House has said Obama would veto the bill, 16 Democrats joined with Republicans to pass the measure, 254-163."

Source:
NO SURPRISE
Trump Eschewing Briefing Materials in Debate Prep
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS

In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shun­ning tra­di­tion­al de­bate pre­par­a­tions, but has been watch­ing video of…Clin­ton’s best and worst de­bate mo­ments, look­ing for her vul­ner­ab­il­it­ies.” Trump “has paid only curs­ory at­ten­tion to brief­ing ma­ter­i­als. He has re­fused to use lecterns in mock de­bate ses­sions des­pite the ur­ging of his ad­visers. He prefers spit­balling ideas with his team rather than hon­ing them in­to crisp, two-minute an­swers.”

Source:
×