Questionable if GOP Backs McAllister in Runoff

Delivering stump speeches that roast Republican party officials may have finally caught up with Congressman Vance McAllister, R-Swartz.

The bad blood, however, dates back much further than the ongoing contest in the 5th Congressional District. GOP leaders backed McAllister's opponent in last year's special election, after the incumbent bucked Gov. Bobby Jindal's stance on Medicaid expansion. And they implored McAllister to resign earlier this year after a video was released of him kissing a married aide.

Asked if the party would wholeheartedly support McAllister if he makes the runoff against Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, a Democrat, Louisiana Republican Party Executive Director Jason Doré said it would be a "tough decision."

Noting that the Senate race will be the party's focus, he added, "I think by far (McAllister) would be the weakest candidate against Mayo. We hope one of the other candidates make the runoff."

McAllister responded, "I'm going to take the words from one of the most conservative presidents our country has ever seen, President Ronald Reagan, and say I will not speak ill will of a fellow Republican. Second, I don't know why it's such a tough decision for them when it was an easy decision for one of the most powerful conservative groups in the nation, the NRA, to endorse me. Third, it's no secret I wasn't Gov. Jindal's and the Republican leadership's handpicked candidate last time, nor am I the handpicked candidate this time. It is clear they have more than one candidate in this race this time to try to control this seat in Congress. It's obvious which candidates those are."

Asked to elaborate, McAllister declined, although Dr. Ralph Abraham and Zach Dasher are viewed as conservative forces in the race. Despite the reservations of state leaders, national Republicans are coming to McAllister's aid.

A recent fundraiser was hosted in D.C. by a group of colleagues and Oklahoma Congressman Markwayne Mullin is said to be heading to the 5th District later this month to help McAllister raise money.

The state party may not be able to avoid helping McAllister, directly or indirectly. The limits on independent expenditures may force it to eventually pull McAllister into its spending model, in such a runoff scenario, so that more resources can actually be directed to helping Congressman Bill Cassidy unseat incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu.

This story first appeared in Issue 998 of LaPolitics Weekly on Oct. 2, 2014. Wish you would have read it then? Subscribe now!

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