Rep. Vance McAllister, the married Republican congressman who was caught on tape kissing his part-time scheduler outside his Monroe, La., office, says he plans to run for re-election despite his recent scandal.
McAllister told the Monroe News-Star newspaper that he'll go ahead with his re-election campaign "unless there is an outcry for me not to serve, and so far there has been an outpouring of support, not for my actions, but for me to continue to represent the people."
"If the people are willing to forgive me I'll keep fighting. If there's somebody more perfect than me who they support, it's their will," he said.
The good news for McAllister is that voters tend to be more forgiving of infidelity than abuses of power. A Quinnipiac Poll released Tuesday queried voters about two hypothetical candidates, one who had been unfaithful to his wife and one who created a staff position to hire an unqualified relative. While 49 percent said they probably or definitely would not vote for the congressman who cheated, that number rose to two-thirds of voters, 67 percent, with the one who hired family member.
"Voters clearly see a difference between personal and official scandals. Committing adultery is far less damaging to a politician than abusing their office," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
McAllister also said the involvement with his staffer, Melissa Anne Hixon Peacock - who is also married - was the first time he had strayed from his marriage. His chief of staff, Adam Terry, told the paper that Peacock had been taken off the payroll.