Is Fields Robo-calling for McAllister?

UPDATED 5:03 P.M. FRIDAY: Riser spokesperson Ryan Cross issued the following statement regarding today's robocalls: "Any accusation that the Riser campaign had any knowledge of this or any part in it is completely ridiculous. It's not our fault our opponent continues to align himself with liberal politicians."

A voice message obtained by LaPolitics suggests former Congressman Cleo Fields, a Baton Rouge Democrat, is making calls on behalf of political newcomer Vance McAllister, a Republican from Swartz, in the 5th Congressional District. It's uncertain, however, if Fields is actually involved.

The runoff election is scheduled to begin tomorrow. Voters started receiving the recorded messages today.

You can listen to the robocall by clicking here.

The speaker identifies himself as Fields and states, "I'm calling you to encourage you to please vote for my friend Vance McAllister," adding he will be a "strong voice for the people of the 5th Congressional District in Washington D.C."

Before the robocall ends, the speaker concludes, "This is an important election. That's why I paid for this call."

A phone message seeking confirmation from Fields was left with his secretary Friday morning at his Baton Rouge law firm. A message was also left with the McAllister campaign.

The campaign of state Sen. Neil Riser, R-Columbia, has already made a go of trying to link McAllister with other Democrats, most notably President Barack Obama. One such effort came this week came in the form of a direct mail piece stating, “On the major issues… Vance McAllister agrees with Obama.”

While such a tactic might help shake some diehard Republicans off of McAllister, it could have unintended consequences as well. “This was received by at least one Democratic (parish executive committee) chairman,” said an operative who has worked the race in north Louisiana. “Who knows how many chronic Democratic voters may have received it.”

Riser’s strategy appears to be banking on a much stronger turnout among white conservatives than black Democrats. (In the primary, turnout was 26 percent white to 15 percent black, according to an analysis by JMC Enterprises.)

The senator is not alone in using the perceived unpopularity of Obamacare to try to redefine McAllister’s outsider image. Despite that the candidates agree on gun rights, a balanced budget amendment and opposition to gay marriage, an endorsement for Riser in The Ouachita Citizenlabeled the duck commander’s good buddy McAllister a “liberal politician.”

Perhaps mindful that it could help as well as hurt to endorse Riser, Gov. Bobby Jindal, interviewed by KTVE, called the senator “a good friend… a great conservative reformer,” while adding that McAllister “wanted to actually participate in Obamacare through the Medicaid expansion. I think that would be a mistake.” But the governor qualified his comments, saying, “We haven’t made any decisions on endorsements.”

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