Republican Rep. Vance McAllister, forever immortalized on security camera footage as the "kissing congressman," has decided not to seek re-election, according to the Monroe News-Star. He does, however, say he won't resign and plans to finish out his term.
Last year, McAllister, a wealthy businessman who owns an oil company and several restaurant franchises, won a major upset in a special election to replace ex-Rep. Rodney Alexander in Louisiana's 5th Congressional District. McAllister defeated a fellow Republican, state Sen. Neil Riser, who had the backing of the entire GOP establishment. But in part by campaigning in favor of accepting federal Medicaid expansion funds, McAllister prevailed in the runoff, which was open to voters of all parties. (McAllister was also endorsed by Willie Robertson, star of the popular reality show Duck Dynasty, which is based in the district.)
In his very brief tenure, McAllister's most notable pre-scandal moment came in January, when he declared that his new job as a congressman "sucks" and "ain't no fun." Perhaps a bit presciently, though, he also added, "But the day I start enjoying it in Washington, D.C., is the day that I should come home."
And now, indeed, he'll be coming home for good. Earlier this month, an unknown someone with an axe to grind leaked a video of McAllister making out with a staffer at his district office in Monroe. Both McAllister and the aide are married (to other people, natch). Even in notoriously forgiving Louisiana, the fact that the indiscretion was actually caught on tape was just too much, particularly since McAllister ran as a family values Christian conservative, and high-level Republicans quickly called for his resignation.
McAllister, though, initially struck a defiant tone and insisted he'd stay in office and even run for another term. But sharks started to gather and one Republican candidate had already launched a campaign to unseat the incumbent, with many others still considering. (In this dark red district, a Republican is all but certain to succeed McAllister.) Evidently, McAllister finally succumbed to reality, realizing his chances at winning another term were remote at best. The scrutiny probably wasn't much fun, either. And now it's time we all blow him a kiss good-bye.