'Duck Dynasty' congressman says kiss won't drive him out

Vance McAllister, the congressman backed by 'Duck Dynasty,' said he does not plan to resign following the release of a video showing the married representative kissing a staffer.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Then-newly-elected Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La. waiting to be sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington in November 2013. McAllister says he's asking his family and constituents for forgiveness after a West Monroe newspaper published a video that shows the congressman kissing a female staffer. McAllister attracted national attention because of his endorsement from the bearded men of the 'Duck Dynasty' reality TV show.

Freshman Rep. Vance McAllister (R) told a local newspaper on Monday night that he does not plan to resign from Congress following the release of a video showing the married congressman, who ran for office on a conservative Christian platform, kissing a staffer.

In an interview with The News-Star, the Louisiana lawmaker said that he plans to stand for reelection this fall, “unless there is an outcry for me not to serve.”

“So far there has been an outpouring of support, not for my actions, but for me to continue to represent the people," he told the paper.

Representative McAllister also said that he has asked his wife and five children for forgiveness, telling The News-Star: “I have fallen short as a husband and a father, and I feel more ashamed than you can imagine.”

On Monday, another local news outlet, Ouachita Citizen, had released surveillance footage from outside McAllister’s district office in December that shows the federal lawmaker kissing a paid staffer.

McAllister, a college dropout and Army veteran, was a relative unknown when he won a special election on Nov. 16 in Louisiana’s Fifth Congressional District, beating out party officials' preferred candidate, Neil Riser, with 60 percent of the vote. His campaign was in large part self-funded, using millions earned in the oil and gas business.

Though McAllister ran for office on a platform just to the left of Mr. Riser, McAllister told The New York Times in November that “my opponent was so far to the right you couldn’t help but be a little bit left.” On the whole, McAllister styled himself as an upstanding Christian who would go to Washington – to which he had never been, until attending the swearing-in ceremonies – to “do right” and support conservative values.

When he got to Washington, he invited one of the controversial stars of the reality TV show "Duck Dynasty,” which ends each episode with a prayer, as his guest to the State Of the Union address. The star, Willie Robertson, had endorsed McAllister during his election campaign.

Aides to McAllister told The News-Star that the staffer seen on the video has been dropped from the congressman's payroll. CNN reported that the staffer’s husband is asking for a divorce.

The Washington Post reported that the staffer in the video worked part-time for less than $22,000 a year and that she was one of the few members of McAllister’s staff who had been hired under his tenure, not under former Rep. Rodney Alexander (R), who McAllister replaced.

The staffer and her husband donated $10,400 dollars to McAllister's campaign in October 2013, according to Federal Election Commission records. At the time, the staffer was listed in federal campaign finance records as self-employed in the cosmetology field. 

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