McAllister Beats Riser Going Away

Political newcomer Vance McAllister of Swartz pulled off his second big election surprise in a row by easily defeating the early favorite in Saturday’s runoff in the 5th Congressional District.

After coming out of nowhere to finish second in the primary—and 15 points behind state Sen. Neil Riser of Columbia—McAllister thumped his fellow Republican in the runoff with nearly 60 percent of the vote.

McAllister carried the four largest parishes by wide margins and ran strong in northern, rural areas of the district. Riser won the smaller rural parishes in the southern and central regions.

“No one saw this coming,” said one political operative not aligned with either campaign. Another predicted even more surprises as data becomes available, saying, “I'll bet (McAllister) carries all major demographics when the analysis is done. He definitely cornered the anti-Jindal vote.”

John Couvillon with JMC Enterprises of Louisiana added that Ouachita and Rapides held the swing precincts. McAllister dominated both parishes. While endorsements often don’t offer enough to push a candidate over the finish line, Couvillon said McAllister owes a large debt to Public Service Commission Clyde Holloway, a Republican from Forest Hill; Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, a Democrat; and the “Duck Dynasty” bunch.

All gave big nods to the businessman. Holloway and Mayo, in particular, were primary losers. “The cumulative effect of those endorsements is important,” Couvillon said. “In isolation they wouldn’t have made as much of a difference as all three together.”

While both ran on conservative platforms, McAllister took a more pragmatic approach to the Affordable Care Act and even called for expanding Medicaid to cover more uninsured low-income residents—opposing Gov. Bobby Jindal’s stance. Riser in turn attacked McAllister in direct mail and on TV regarding the health care issue.

McAllister made his stance known on Medicaid barely a week ago, during a time in campaigns when many voters start tuning out, with their decisions already made. Analysts and consultants say McAllister had already worked up a head of steam when he dropped his political bomb during Louisiana Public Broadcasting’s Nov. 8 debate. Given more time, Riser could have gained traction on his attacks, they say, but probably not enough to turn the tide.

Nonetheless, many view McAllister's Medicaid expansion comments as the turning point in the race. It may have certainly been the fuel behind Democratic turnout in certain areas, like black precincts in Ouachita Parish where McAllister earned more votes than Mayo did in the primary.

Riser was supported by all of the state’s Republican congressmen and was all but verbally endorsed by Jindal, who called the senator a good friend and “great conservative leader” while criticizing McAllister's position on the Medicaid expansion.

While Riser was the insider choice, even receiving fundraising help from U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, McAllister was still embraced by D.C. politicos Saturday evening, and rather quickly.

Congressman Greg Walden of Oregon, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said McAllister’s fiscal positions and calls for greater accountability will be an “excellent addition to Louisiana’s delegation here in the Washington,” adding, “I look forward to working with Vance as we fight back against ObamaCare and this administration’s expensive, big-government, tax and spend policies.”

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, a New Orleans Democrat, did the same and released the following statement: “I look forward to working with Mr. McAllister in the coming weeks and months. Throughout his campaign, Mr. McAllister emphasize that he wants to find solutions and common ground. With this desire and his business background, I know we can both work together to grow and expand the middle class in Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District.”

ALSO WORTH READING:

— Capitol Cash (Part One)

— MAGINNIS: Local Lawsuits More to Jindal’s Liking

— Political Takeaways

HIGH ALTITUDE: About The FAA Reauthorization… (Sponsored)

Innovation in aviation regulation has come to a halt as Congress continues to grapple with whether to privatize air traffic controllers.

Happy Birthday, Trackers!

— Tuesday 09/19: Former State Police Col. Mike Edmonson, Wes Hataway, Michael Tisserand, Travers Mackel and Bruce Alpert — Wednesday

News About News, Via LPA

— Rachel Steffan is now editor at the Leesville Daily Leader, where Chris Schoonover and Micah Pickering have also joined as

Quiet Race About To Be Not-So-Quiet

Television buys, anonymous tips to reporters, shielded social media accounts and independent expenditures. Yes, the race for state treasurer

The Beltway Beat

— Ads Target Kennedy: As part of a six-figure national ad buy, Allied Progress is said to be running commercials in Louisiana highlighting

Political Chatter

— The House bulletin for the 2018 regular session has been completed. Read it now to prepare for legislative warfare. — Pollster Greg

LaHISTORY: Share Our Wealth, Post-Kingfish

We reflected on the death of Huey P. Long last week (the 82nd anniversary), so it’s only natural to move forward with that storyline and

The Treasurer’s Race

— Former state Rep. John Schroder has finally released his first commercial that “will begin airing on TV across Louisiana in the coming

Cassidy Healthcare Briefing

The hottest action in Louisiana politics is actually taking place in Washington, where U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy is helping drive the debate of

The Setting Goals & Paving Roads Episode

  Do you set goals for yourself? If so, how do you follow up on them? In this episode we get a few pointers from Shawn

SPONSORED: Chomp! Another LegisGator In The Books…

Last week more than 800 legislators, supporters, lobbyists, business leaders and others involved in the political realm gathered for

SPONSORED: What Drives Mike Michot

Mike Michot’s love for public service runs deep. His connection to politics and the political process can be traced back to roots even older

POD: Yard Signs?!? Yes, Yard Signs!

This is the official campaign yard signs episode of 2017! Chad Melder of CAMCO Consulting stops by to tell us what design elements work and

SPONSORED: Go Sharks!

Before Southside High School in Youngsville opened its doors this August, nearly 50 years had passed since a new high school was built in

POD: “So They Named Me Peppi”

He’s the one-time speaker pro tem, a master of the redistricting process, a former GOP House delegation chair and a current member of the

Political Birthdays & Other Dates Of Note

— Tuesday 08/15: Joe Mapes, Karen Carver Shachat, Megan Regina and Randy Angelle — Wednesday 08/16: Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Rep. Dustin

ICYMI: Oil Spill Claims Process Nearing An End

After five years, nearly 400,000 claims and more than $9 billion in payment offers, BP’s massive settlement program may be coming to a close

ICYMI: Trump Has Another Judge to Name 

After a lengthy and public controversy involving her severe alcoholism, U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi finally took her disability

The “So Basically…” News Update 

1.) CORRUPTION ALERT! — What happened: “A. Wayne Lawson, a key witness in the attempted election bribery case against Ascension Parish

Political Chatter

— Former Gov. Buddy Roemer’s new book, “Scopena: A Memoir of Home,” will be released by UL Press on Sept. 19. LEARN MORE — District

LaHISTORY: Louisiana’s First Senators

For the first four months after it entered statehood, Louisiana didn’t have any representation in the U.S. Senate in Washington. But that

Barras, Edwards Meeting Wednesday

Gov. John Bel Edwards is calling it Louisiana’s “fiscal cliff,” and it’ll be the prime topic of conversation Wednesday when he meets with

Compromise Caucus A Grand Experiment

Bernie Pinsonat of Southern Media and Opinion Research is fond of saying, “If you’re in the middle in Louisiana politics then you’re

Sponsored: The Life of A Congressman On “Break”

Congress breaks for recess each August. For many Members of Congress, the hiatus is anything but a break from their duties. Just ask

POD: The Constitutional Boogie

  In this episode of The LaPolitics Report podcast you’ll learn why the people and politics of the 1973 convention and 1974