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Pressure builds on U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister to resign

Governor Bobby Jindal and Louisiana’s GOP chairman call on McAllister to leave Congress after being caught on tape kissing a staffer

♦By Rich Shumate, editor

louisiana mugMONROE, Louisiana (CFP) — Two top leaders in  U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister’s own Republican Party are calling for him resign over a video showing showing the married father of five kissing a female staffer outside of his congressional office in Monroe.

U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister

U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Roger Villere, chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party, both say McAllister should step aside.

“Congressman McAllister’s behavior is an embarrassment,” Jindal said in a statement. “He says he wants privacy to work on his issues with his family. The best way to get privacy and work on putting his family back together is to resign from Congress.”

Villere was even more scathing, saying McAllister’s “extreme hypocrisy is an example of why ordinary people are fed up with politics.”

“A breach of trust of this magnitude can only be rectified by an immediate resignation. He has embarrassed our party, our state and the institution of Congress,” Villere said.

The video was first published by The Ouachita Citizen, a newspaper in West Monroe, which said it had obtained it from an anonymous source. The video came from a surveillance camera in the building housing McAllister’s district office.

After the newspaper posted the video, McAllister issued a public apology.

“There’s no doubt I’ve fallen short,” McAllister said. “I’m asking for forgiveness from God, my wife, my kids, my staff and my constituents.”

“I promise to do everything I can to earn back the trust of everyone I’ve disappointed,” he added, asking that his children be given privacy “as we get through this.”

In a subsequent interview with the Monroe News-Star, McAllister said he had no plans to resign and would seek re-election this fall.

The newspaper identified the female in the video as Melissa Peacock, a scheduler on McAllister’s district staff. Her husband, Heath Peacock, a campaign contributor and former co-worker of the congressman, told CNN that he is “devastated” by the video and plans to divorce his wife.

“I feel like I’m going to wake up here in a minute, and this is all going to be a bad nightmare,” Peacock said.

It is unknown who leaked the video. McAllister considered but eventually dropped the idea of requesting an FBI investigation into who provided the video to the newspaper.

McAllister, 40, a businessman from Swartz, was a political unknown when he elected to represent Louisiana’s 5th District in a special election in November, during which he portrayed himself as a Christian family man.

His campaign was boosted by celebrity endorsements by members of the Robertson family from the Duck Dynasty television show. He later invited Willie Robertson to President Obama’s State of the Union address.

Watch the video:

GOP businessman Vance McAllister wins House seat in Louisiana

McAllister easily beats fellow Republican State Senator Neil Riser in 5th District runoff

♦By Rich Shumate, editor

louisiana mugMONROE, Louisiana (CFP) — Armed with an endorsement from the stars of Duck Dynasty, Republican businessman and political newcomer Vance McAllister easily won a special election for a vacant U.S. House seat in Louisiana.

U.S. Rep.-elect Vance McAllister

U.S. Rep.-elect Vance McAllister

McAllister, 39, from Swartz, beat Republican State Senator Neil Riser, 51, of Columbia, by a 60-40 percent margin in the November 16 runoff.  He will replace GOP U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, who resigned his seat after he was appointed by Governor Bobby Jindal to head the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs.

Riser had finished first in the first round of voting on October 19, with 32 percent of the vote, setting up a runoff with McAllister, who captured 18 percent. Under Louisiana’s blanket primary system, candidates from all parties run in the same primary, which set up the battle between two Republicans in the heavily GOP district.

The 5th District takes in 24 parishes in northeastern and central Louisiana, including some parishes along the Mississippi River east of Baton Rouge.

Alexander, first elected as a Democrat in 2002, switched to the GOP in 2004. McAllister’s election keeps Louisiana’s House delegation steady at six Republicans and one Democrat.

Riser had the backing of Alexander and the state GOP establishment. But McAllister fought back by pouring more than $400,000 of his own money into the race and enlisting support from Willie and Jep Robertson, family friends and stars of the popular A&E series.

Both Robertsons cut ads for McAllister that aired during the runoff campaign.

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