Representative Vance McAllister is the only member of Congress to hold his seat thanks to an endorsement by members of the Duck Dynasty reality TV show. The Louisiana Republican soared to victory in a special election last November after members of the Robertson family gave him their blessing. But McAllister could now lose his seat because of the reality show he’s now created for himself. A security video taken at his district office in Monroe shows him passionately kissing a member of his staff, who, like the congressman, is married to someone else.
McAllister has told his hometown paper that he is “ashamed” of his behavior and had already confessed to his wife about the affair. But he also seems obsessed with tracking down the leaker of the video. Yesterday, his office requested an FBI investigation. Adam Terry, his chief of staff, said, “A breach in security in a federal office is a grave concern for us.”
The investigation hardly seems necessary or a good use of taxpayer resources, and McAllister’s office dropped the request for the probe late on Wednesday. West Monroe minister Danny Chance has told the Monroe News-Star that Leah Gordon, McAllister’s Monroe district office manager, told him she planned to leak the video and the paper interviewed witnesses who confirmed the conversation. For now, Gordon remains on McAllister’s payroll while the staffer he was canoodling with was let go within 24 hours.
McAllister said he plans to stand for reelection next fall “unless there is an outcry for me not to serve. . . . If there’s somebody more perfect than me who they support, it’s their will.”
An odd choice of words, and McAllister should brace himself for a slew of challengers to file against him before the August 22 deadline. As now appears likely, if no one wins 50 percent or more in the November election, the top two challengers then go into a December runoff.
Louisiana has been generally forgiving of scandal-ridden politicians. Think Edwin Edwards, the former Democratic governor now trying for a comeback to Congress at age 86 in a neighboring district. Edwards famously boasted he could lose only if “caught in bed with a live boy or a dead girl.” David Vitter, Louisiana’s sitting GOP senator, survived a 2007 scandal in which his name appeared on the client list of a prominent New Orleans house of prostitution. But the McAllister case is uncharted territory since it features a video that has attracted enormous popular attention. So the man who was propelled into office by a celebrity TV endorsement could be turfed out by voters for his own video infamy.