BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister announced Monday that he's changed his mind and intends to run for re-election despite the scandal caused by a video showing him kissing a married female aide.
In April, the freshman congressman said he wouldn't seek another term. But two months later, McAllister has reversed course and said he will be on the Nov. 4 ballot as a candidate for Louisiana's 5th District.
"Without a doubt this decision comes after much thought and prayer," McAllister said in a statement. "This district has been home to me and my family all of my life. I know the needs of this congressional district very well. I also know that this district needs a strong, conservative voice in Congress."
The married congressman, who ran on a platform of faith and family, apologized for a "personal failure" after the security tape showed him kissing an aide in his congressional office. She later resigned.
GOP leaders, including Gov. Bobby Jindal, pushed for McAllister to step down from Congress, but he refused. They called his behavior embarrassing and hypocritical.
McAllister, who's held the congressional seat for less than year, said he won't spend time discussing the video scandal during his campaign.
"That's something that me and (wife) Kelly had to deal with. We're fine. That's just not something I'm going to talk about in the future. That's in the past. I've made my apologies," McAllister said on "The Moon Griffon Show," a conservative talk radio show based in north Louisiana where he announced his re-election bid.
But McAllister's previous announcement that he wouldn't run again, combined with the fallout from the scandal, has attracted several new contenders for the race, leaving the incumbent congressman with a tough road to re-election.
A businessman with no political experience, McAllister won a special election in November 2013 to represent the district centered in the state's northeast and central parishes, surprising the GOP by handily defeating the Republican establishment candidate.
To win the seat, McAllister largely self-financed his election bid and got a boost from endorsements by the men of the cable television hit "Duck Dynasty."
But the TV family appears to have moved on from McAllister. Zach Dasher, a nephew of "Duck Dynasty's" Phil Robertson, is running for the congressional seat against McAllister. Dasher said the stars of the A&E show support his campaign.