Freshman Rep. Vance McAllister (R), who was elected in a November special election in Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District to replace resigned Rep. Rodney Alexander (R) but then quickly became embroiled in an extra-marital scandal, announced yesterday that he will not seek a full term this November. He will serve the balance of the current term, however.
Due to his short stint in Congress and his upset of the party establishment candidate, McAllister did not have the internal district support to withstand a scandal. His announcement means that 45 seats will now be open in the 2014 election cycle, though one – the 19th District of Florida – will be filled in a June special election. In addition to the 45 members leaving the House, seven more vacancies, including this Louisiana seat, have been filled in special elections since the beginning of this Congress.
In the special election, McAllister defeated 11 other Republican candidates. Some, such as former Rep. Clyde Holloway (R-LA-8) and Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, already have taken themselves out of another election but others have been non-committal. All eyes will be on state Sen. Neil Riser (R), who lost the run-off election to McAllister.
Under Louisiana’s unique electoral system, candidate filing does not close until Aug. 22, so a good deal of time remains for potential candidates to decide whether to enter the race. The jungle primary election will be held concurrently with the Nov. 4 general election. If no candidate receives an outright majority, the top two finishers, regardless of political party affiliation, advance to a Dec. 6 run-off election.
We can again expect a crowded field of candidates. The seat is heavily Republican, and will likely remain in the GOP column.
Polls have just been released from Republican pollster Magellan Strategies that place several GOP Senate challengers and open seat candidates ahead of their Democratic counterpart. Only the topline numbers are available (we will have a full analysis when the actual data becomes public) and the results definitely change the previous political paradigm.
In the races most heavily covered, it is Alaska Republican Dan Sullivan leading Sen. Mark Begich (D) 46-41 percent; Arkansas Rep. Tom Cotton (R) ahead of Sen. Mark Pryor (D) 46-43 percent; businessman Mark Jacobs topping Rep. Bruce Braley (D) 41-40 percent, the first time the Democrat is trailing in any poll; and Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) leading Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) 44-42 percent.
Where Democrats still hold their own, Sen. Mark Udall (D) again clings to a three-point, 45-42 percent total over Rep. Cory Gardner (R); Rep. Gary Peters (D) leads former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R) 46-41 percent; and Sen. Kay Hagen (D) and House Speaker Thom Tillis are tied at 43 percent in North Carolina.
Much more on these results in the coming days.