McAllister changes course, will seek re-election

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 30, 2014 at 1:59 pm •  Published: June 30, 2014
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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The married congressman who refused to leave office after he was seen kissing a female aide on grainy security footage changed course Monday, announcing that he would run for re-election despite the scandal and calls from the GOP leadership for his resignation.

Rep. Vance McAllister said in April after the video was posted on the website of a Louisiana newspaper that he wouldn't seek another term. But two months later, the freshman congressman said he will be on the Nov. 4 ballot as a candidate for Louisiana's 5th District.

"Without a doubt this decision comes after much thought and prayer," McAllister said in a statement. "This district has been home to me and my family all of my life. I know the needs of this congressional district very well. I also know that this district needs a strong, conservative voice in Congress."

In an interview, McAllister said that he's received an outpouring of encouragement from people in the district urging him to run and the strongest support came from his wife, Kelly.

"She sees the work that goes into it every day, and she's telling me that I really should," he said. "She was a strong advocate and supporter of wanting me to really consider."

The congressman, who ran on a platform of faith and family, apologized for a "personal failure" after the security tape showed him kissing the married aide in his congressional office. She later resigned.

McAllister, who's held the congressional seat for less than year, said he won't spend time discussing the scandal during his campaign.

"I've got a record. I'm going to talk about the future, not the past," he said.

GOP leaders, including Gov. Bobby Jindal, pushed for McAllister to step down, but he refused. They called his behavior embarrassing and hypocritical and were displeased with Monday's announcement.

"Congressman McAllister made the right decision earlier when he said he would not run again. It is disappointing he changed his mind," Jindal said in a statement.

State Republican Party Chairman Roger Villere said McAllister should have stayed out of the race and worked on repairing the damage to his family.