Riser, McAllister Make LA05 Runoff

While the runoff spot secured by Sen. Neil Riser, R-Columbia, Saturday evening came as little surprise to political observers in north Louisiana and elsewhere, the inclusion of Monroe businessman Vance McAllister adds a whole new dynamic to the Nov. 16 runoff in the 5th Congressional District.

As reported earlier this month by LaPolitics, McAllister's campaign picked up momentum late in the game, probably thanks in no small part to an endorsement from reality TV star Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty.” Nonetheless, he emerges from the primary as not only an unknown entity, but a rising star in Louisiana politics. Whether he can maintain the latter status in the coming days and weeks in the hardball environment of congressional campaigning is another matter.

Sources also told LaPolitics this week that McAllister had opened up his coffers in a major way in recent days to increase his media buys and intensify his get-out-the-vote efforts, which may have been indicative of his own internal polling. Everyone is still waiting, however, to see his FEC reports, which have been MIA so far.

More than any other candidate in the race, he probably hurt the chances of Rep. Jay Morris, R-Monroe, the most. Morris had attempted to label himself as the outsider in the race, but ended up in the sixth spot following the preliminary primary vote count.

With Morris and a dozen other candidates out of the way, McAllister, a Republican newcomer to politics, can now run a campaign as the one true outsider. Being self-funded, he may also get an opportunity to let his bank account breathe a bit. Endorsements from Morris and Public Service Commissioner Clyde Holloway, a Republic from Forest Hill, would help, but aren't necessary for him to continue gaining momentum, if he's able.

Like Morris, Holloway was highly critical of Riser in the primary, due chiefly to his ties to outgoing Congressman Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman, and Gov. Bobby Jindal. Both GOP contenders accused Alexander and Jindal of orchestrating a truncated election that benefitted Riser, the one candidate who had been planning to run for years.

Even though Riser has solid conservative creds, like an unshakable relationship with the National Rifle Association, and stellar fundraising—U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia co-hosted one recent event—McAllister could position himself to the right of the frontrunner if he so chooses. On his website, McAllister said he knows how "government red tape and bureaucracy (has) hurt small businesses and workers" and that he "will fight to turn the economy around by repealing ObamaCare, investigating the IRS and stopping the march of big government into our lives."

But in a district with a strong Democratic voting bloc, at least on paper, it's uncertain how much ground McAllister could gain from such a strategy. With Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, a Democrat, falling roughly 3,000 votes shy of making the runoff, and Democrats pulling in nearly 31,000 votes, McAllister may be better positioned to run a more open-minded campaign. Still, the Democratic base didn't exactly shine in Saturday's contest.

Here's how the preliminary numbers broke down Saturday evening for the top contenders, out of 103,377 votes cast:

— Riser: 33,045 votes, or 31.97 percent

— McAllister: 18,386 votes, or 17.79 percent

— Mayo: 15,317 votes, or 14.82 percent

— Holloway: 11,250 percent, or 10.88 percent

— Rep. Robert Johnson, D-Marksville: 9,971 votes, 9.65 percent

— Morris: 7,083 votes, 6.85 percent

ALSO WORTH READING:

There Were No Shutdown Losers Here

The Surprise Candidate: Outsider Makes Splash in 5th District 

CAPITOL GAINS: At Home with Clay

 “This is what America wants to see.” That was the promise from a beer-toting Congressman Clay Higgins in this episode of Capitol

SPONSORED: The 106th First Lady’s Luncheon

The Picard Group was honored to attend the 106th First Lady’s Luncheon, honoring The First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump. Held on

IT’S PERSONAL

This story was originally published in LaPOLITICS Weekly on May 4, 2018. Wish you had read it then? Become a part of our elite community by

THIS COULD BE YOU

You could say legislators in Illinois really dropped the ball when they failed to pass an operating budget for their state prior to the 2016

POD: Politics & Drilling, According To Briggs

In this episode of The LaPolitics Report, we talk to Louisiana Oil and Gas Association President Gifford Briggs, who recently succeeded his

POD: I’m Sorry, Miss Jackson

Katrina Jackson, a state rep who’s running for senator, talks about her time leading the Black Caucus and working as a legislative staffer.

SPONSORED: Acadian Companies’ 2018 Medic & EMT Of The Year

On Thursday, May 3, Acadian Companies held their annual luncheon to honor Paramedic Jerret Dunlap and EMT Taylor Walden who were selected as

LOWDOWN: John Stefanski on Community

Crowley native and freshman Rep. John Stefanski is here to talk about community, both at home and online. John talks about the influence

SPONSORED: Congratulations!

Congratulations to LHC Group for being recognized as the 2018 Junior Achievement of Acadiana Large Company of the Year. On Tuesday, May 1,

SHELVING SCHEDLER: SOS now an open seat, special election coming

The field of maybe-candidates who were waiting on Secretary of State Tom Schedler’s exit were also quietly hoping for a special election,

Barras’ Ultimatum, JBE’s Tax Reduction & Talk Of A “Reasonable Compromise”

— Has Speaker Taylor Barras issued an ultimatum? Reporters and Gov. John Bel Edwards seem to think so. Journos put out the word via Twitter

ALFORD’S OPINION COLUMN: Democrats Still Finding Their Way At Capitol

Being a Democratic member of the Louisiana Legislature isn’t always unicorns, rainbows and lollipops. Sometimes it can get a little rough.

YOU’VE GOT MAIL: Lawmakers taking hits in their mailboxes

Rebuild Louisiana began sending out direct mail in legislative districts across the state last week in a “continual effort to educate the

Rabalais’ Political History: When a constitutional convention became a full-scale riot

By 1866, Louisiana had been devastated by the ravages of the Civil War. Almost 3,000 of the state’s citizens had been killed in the

Political Chatter

— Former Democratic Rep. Ledricka Thierry announced she is running for District Judge for the 27th Judicial District in the November 2020

Gamard’s Beltway Beat: Netanyahu & Gleason

Two things: — News broke yesterday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is accusing Iran of lying about its nuclear aspirations,

#HBD TRACKERS!

— Tuesday 05/01: Gregory Todd Hilburn, Caitlin Berni and Rhett Davis — Wednesday 05/02: Elizabeth McKnight — Thursday 05/03: Former U.S.

WEEKLY: Amendment Bills Reach 6-Year Low

The number of proposed constitutional amendments introduced by state legislators during regular sessions has hit a six-year low, just as

WEEKLY: Dems Prep Party Candidates

In an effort to fill nearly 30 open seats on the Democratic State Central Committee and numerous other positions on parish executive

LOWDOWN: Helena Moreno on Effective Advocacy

Meet Helena Nancy Moreno. She’s the former state representative from House District 93, in the French Quarter. Helena was still in the

SPONSORED: CABL Drafting 2019 Agenda

For more than 50 years, the Council for A Better Louisiana (CABL) has been an advocate for positive change at the state level, focusing on

The House Versus the Senate

“Every year we send a lean thoroughbred race horse to the Senate in the form of a budget, and they send back a dairy cow. Full of milk and a

Stuff Jeremy Didn’t Know Yesterday Morning…

Between a book project on the 1973 constitutional convention, a series of history segments produced by LaPolitics, committee meetings and

Rabalais’ Political History: Mayor Maestri’s Lunch With Franklin Roosevelt

While this week marks the 300th anniversary of the founding of New Orleans, it is also the annual commemoration of a less heralded event in

Alford’s Opinion Column: At Sixes & Sevens

Here it comes — the Legislature’s sixth special session since being sworn in 29 months ago. And you know what? Don’t bet against a seventh