Is it better to burn out or fade away? When you’re Louisiana Congressman Vance McAllister, it doesn’t matter. You can do both.
The “kissing congressman” announced Monday that he would not seek re-election after the married Louisiana Republican was caught on camera smooching a female staff member. The scandal broke in early April, just months after McAllister was elected to Congress, winning a November special election as an outsider candidate touting the support of the Robertson family from Duck Dynasty.
In a statement, McAllister explained his decision to stay in office but not seek re-election by saying, “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.”
As an outsider new to politics, the embattled congressman had not received much support from colleagues and had faced calls to resign from Bobby Jindal, Louisiana’s Republican governor as well as the chair of the Republican Party of Louisiana. Now, McAllister’s political career is effectively over less than six months after he was elected and, if he doesn’t eventually resign, McAllister will have spent more in time on Capitol Hill as a scandal-tarred lame duck than not.
There likely won’t be any political consequences for the GOP with McAllister’s scandal. His northeast Louisiana congressional district is resolutely Republican and it’s hard to envision a scenario in which Democrats would even be viable. But McAllister’s career in politics has imploded. He has no seniority, no allies or political future in Congress and has now made himself an irrelevance for the remainder of his term.