A Democratic state representative who said he’s “very interested” in running for Rep. Vance McAllister’s (R-La.) seat has called on him to resign, after a video of McAllister kissing a married staffer surfaced.
State Rep. Robert Johnson, who came in 5th in the jungle primary for the seat last year, said the revelations had impacted McAllister’s ability to do his job.
"This is another embarrassment to Louisiana," he told The Times-Picayune. “I think he needs to resign, and I don't think he can be effective."
Johnson didn’t officially say he’d launch a challenge to McAllister, but noted it’s “not a secret” that he’s considering it and added, "I'm certainly very interested.”
McAllister has said he has no plans to resign in the wake of the scandal, telling The News-Star in Monroe, La., that he plans to run for reelection “unless there is an outcry for me not to serve, and so far, there has been an outpouring of support, not for my actions, but for me to continue to represent the people.”
But Louisiana political observers expect he’ll draw a number of primary opponents as a result.
McAllister won his seat in a special-election runoff against state Sen. Neil Riser (R), the heavy establishment favorite to succeed former Rep. Rodney Alexander (R), after investing more than $800,000 of his own money in the race and drawing a high-profile endorsement from the stars of the popular “Duck Dynasty” reality TV show.
A handful of other unsuccessful candidates from last year’s special election declined to weigh in on the political implications of the news.
Riser said, “right now, it’s too early to be talking about [the race],” on Tuesday, but he didn’t rule out a second go at the seat.
Three other potential contenders, former Rep. Clyde Holloway (R), Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo (D) and Democratic state Rep. Marcus Hunter — all of whom ran and lost last year — are unlikely to run, with the latter two outright ruling out the race.
Holloway, who endorsed McAllister in the runoff, said the news was “personally disappointing” for him.
"The situation is personally disappointing to me, given that Vance made faith the centerpiece of his platform. There is always a danger, when one consistently references his or her faith during a campaign ... and then regrettable circumstances like these develop and are brought to light,” he said.
Democrats see the situation as a potential opportunity, if they can get a candidate to the runoff, and Hunter pledged to make sure the party will run only one candidate so as not to split the Democratic vote this time.