The Surprise Candidate: Outsider Makes Splash in 5th District

mcallister

READ FIRST BY SUBSCRIBERS, THIS STORY APPEARED IN LaPOLITICS WEEKLY OCT. 2

Just 60 days after former Congressman Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman, announced he was resigning, early voting begins Saturday to choose his successor.

While the six elected officials—three Republicans and three Democrats—were considered the early contenders in the field of 14, a self-financed outsider candidate, Republican Vance McAllister is garnering attention and figures to have an impact on who makes the runoff, if he doesn’t himself.

The 39-year-old’s heavy schedule of TV ads highlighting his large family and conservative values has boosted his name recognition up from zero. He has followed that up by landing the most prized of endorsements, from reality TV star Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty.”

The Duck Commander himself will join McAllister and former Saints player Michael “Beer Man” Lewis at a “Family Fun Day” in Monroe Saturday. McAllister has said that he and Robertson prayed together before he decided to run.

Whether or not McAllister can make the runoff, local observers think he could finish ahead of one of three Republican officials: Public Service Commissioner Clyde Holloway of Forest Hill, Rep. Jay Morris of Monroe and Sen. Neil Riser of Columbia.

Also, by splintering the GOP field four ways, he gives hope to the Democrats that either Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo or Rep. Robert Johnson of Marksville could slip into the runoff.

McAllister describes himself as a self-made businessman who owns a pipeline construction company, Subway franchises and a firm that promotes wrestling and mixed martial arts events.

While his opposition to Obamacare and abortion is in line with the messages of other Republican contenders, he distinguishes himself as the outsider as opposed to “a whole bunch of career politicians” seeking to “go to Congress and do nothing like the rest of them.”

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