Congressman Vance McAllister, the Republican from Louisiana’s Fifth District who was caught soul-kissing a staffer on a leaked surveillance video in April, is getting support from his wife in a new video. But polling in the district suggests that marital support may not be enough for a campaign that was severely damaged by the scandal.
McAllister praises his spouse as a “Christian wife” in the new spot, for which the campaign has made a $75,000 media purchase. “I’m blessed to have a husband that owns up to his mistakes, never gives up, always fighting for the good people of Louisiana,” Kelly McAllister tells viewers in a video punctuated by meaningful gazes. Although the McAllisters appear compatible in the clip, the congressman — who announced that he would not seek reelection after the scandal, only to change his mind a few weeks later — is no longer the frontrunner in the race, according to the most recent poll of Fifth District voters by the Glascock Group.
McAllister won 60 percent of the vote in a 2013 special election, but his 2014 campaign is floundering. He’s facing six Republican challengers — including a member of the Robertson family of Duck Dynasty fame — a Libertarian, a Green and Democratic mayor of Monroe Jamie Mayo. McAllister took 20 percent in Glascock’s poll early last week, behind Alto-based family physician Ralph Abraham with 22 percent. Although Zach Dasher — the nephew of Phil Robertson — took only 7 percent, McAllister is still hurting from his public rupture with the Robertsons, who had previously endorsed McAllister but turned sharply against him in the wake of the kissing scandal.
Despite these troubles, Glascock Group founder and managing partner Darrell Glascock tells National Review Online that the most important recent damage to McAllister was the entrance into the race of Clyde Holloway of Forest Hill. Although Holloway, Louisiana’s public service commissioner, is polling only 9 percent, most of that seems to have been peeled off from McAllister.
“Vance had been running in at least the 30s every poll I’ve done,” Glascock tells NRO. “He wasn’t doing real well, but he had enough hard support to be in the runoff. After Clyde got in he dropped to 20. When we looked at Clyde’s voters, at their first and second choices, it looked like 90 percent of it was coming from Vance. So with Vance at 20, that meant Dr. Abraham at 22 took over the lead. Dr. Abraham’s support, rather than coming just from the Monroe region in the north or from the Alexandria region in the south, seems to be pretty widespread throughout the district. Prior to Clyde’s coming into the race it looked like anybody who got over 20 might get in a runoff with McAllister. But now McAllister may be in that pocket himself.”
McAllister’s campaign also appears to be less well funded than some of his competitors’ efforts, with Abraham and Dasher both enjoying substantial self-funding capacity. The slide in McAllisters’s finances is a “direct result of his little escapade,” Glascock says. “At that point the Republican Party in Washington dropped him and said they weren’t going to raise any money for him. The Republican Party in Louisiana said they weren’t going to raise any money for him. And the Duck boys said they weren’t going to raise any money for him.”
Baton Rouge consultant Roy Fletcher tells the New Orleans Times-Picayune the new ad could be effective if it persuades voters that McAllister’s wife has forgiven him, but he adds, “Getting forgiveness and getting re-elected are two different things.”