Vance McAllister won’t seek reelection, but plans to finish his term

April 28, 2014

In this Nov. 21, 2013,   photo, Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.) waits to be sworn in at the U.S. Capitol on his first day on the job. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Updated 3:25 p.m.

Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.), who has been in office only since November, announced Monday that he will not seek reelection, an announcement that was made as he's faced pressure to resign since video surfaced of him kissing a woman who was then a  staffer.

McAllister first told the Monroe News-Star in Louisiana Monday morning that he will complete his term but not run again for a full, two-year term. He flew to Washington on Monday accompanied by his wife, Kelly.

Hours later he released a statement:

"The past few weeks have been a trying time for my family. As I've said before, there's no doubt I've made a mistake. I've failed those I care most about and let down the people who elected me to represent them. I take full responsibility for this personal failure and I'm truly sorry for what I've done. I have taken this time to reconcile with my wife and kids and I'm forever grateful for their support and forgiveness. The people of the Fifth District of Louisiana need and deserve a voice in Washington. Today, I am announcing that I will not seek re-election, but I will continue to be that voice and will uphold the office to which I was elected to serve for the remainder of my term."

Kelly McAllister told the News-Star in an interview that the couple's marriage remains intact. “I’m behind him 100 percent,” she said.

Video of McAllister and the staffer surfaced about a week before the two-week Easter recess began and McAllister hasn't been seen in Washington since. The staffer has resigned her post.

McAllister won a special election last November to succeed former Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-La.), who stepped down to serve as Louisiana's secretary of veterans affairs. Already Alexander has said he wouldn't rule out running once again for his old seat.

Other possible candidates are state Sen. Neil Riser (R), who lost to McAllister in a runoff last year and businessman Harris Brown (R), who said earlier this month that he was not ruling out a run, according to the Monroe News-Star. The 5th district is safe Republican territory. Mitt Romney won more than six on out 10 votes there in 2012.

Although McAllister will end up serving only about 14 months in office before his term expires next January, his is not the shortest term in congressional history. That distinction goes to another Louisianan, Effingham Lawrence, who served as a Democratic representative for just one day – March 3, 1875 – on the last day of the 43rd Session of Congress.

In a video obtained by "The Ouachita Citizen," Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.) is allegedly seen kissing a female member of his district office staff last December. The congressman has since issued an apology saying, "There's no doubt I've fallen short and I'm asking for forgiveness.” (The Ouachita Citizen)

Sean Sullivan contributed to this story.

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.
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