(BATON ROUGE, La.) -- The pond just got a little more crowded in the race to represent Louisiana’s Fifth Congressional District.
Rep. Vance McAllister, who was captured on video making out with a married staffer and has since been dubbed the “kissing congressman,” had initially vowed to not run for re-election.
But he announced Monday that he has changed his mind, setting up a possible showdown between two candidates supported by the stars of Duck Dynasty.
McAllister said his wife convinced him that voters should decide if he retires from politics.
“She said … ‘You need to go out with it being their decision. You need to continue doing the work you’re doing and make sure they have that choice, and not take that choice from them,’” McAllister said to supporters in Monroe, La.
McAllister, a Republican, was elected last fall with the endorsement of Duck Dynasty stars Phil and Willie Robertson. In January, Willie Robertson attended the State of the Union as McAllister’s guest.
But after video showing him kissing his district scheduler surfaced in April, McAllister said he would step down at the end of the year and wouldn’t run for another term.
In early June, Zach Dasher, a nephew of Phil Robertson, announced his intent to run for McAllister’s seat. In an interview with ABC News, Dasher said his famous family is “110-percent supportive” of his choice to run — even if McAllister were to enter the race.
“There’s no awkwardness at all. The family is behind my message. And we’re solely focused on my campaign right now,” Dasher said.
“I think it was Eleanor Roosevelt who said that great minds discuss great ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people. So obviously we want to be great minds, and we’re not going to make this about people, we’re going to make this about ideas,” Dasher added.
Republicans, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, called on McAllister to resign following his scandal.
On Monday, Jindal called McAllister’s decision to run for re-election “disappointing.”
“Congressman McAllister made the right decision earlier when he said he would not run again,” Jindal said in a statement. “It is disappointing he changed his mind.”
Under Louisiana’s open primary system, all candidates in the race will run against each other in the Nov. 4 primary, with the top two candidates advancing to the general election on Dec. 6.
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