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Amid fallout from tryst, Rep. Vance McAllister won’t seek reelection

Pledging to focus on mending his family, Rep. Vance McAllister - the embattled Louisiana Republican who was caught on tape kissing a married staffer - says he won't go ahead with his reelection campaign this fall but will finish out his term.

"I am committed to serving the 5th District to the best of my ability through this term, but I also have to take care of my family as we work together to repair and strengthen the relationship I damaged," McAllister told the Monroe News-Star.

Dec. 23 surveillance footage released earlier this month showed McAllister at his Monroe district office in a lengthy liplock with his part-time scheduler, who's since "voluntarily resigned." The news proffered a starkly different characterization of a man who ahead of his election last fall ran multiple campaign ads trumpeting his faith and family, but McAllister insisted he'd continue to seek reelection "unless there is an outcry for me not to serve."

And outcry there was: On top of public calls from Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., and state Republican chairman Roger Villere for McAllister to step down from his seat, several politicians and consultants predicted a tough reelection challenge for the freshman congressman in light of the scandal.

As Congress resumed Monday, McAllister said his wife Kelly flew with him to Washington, D.C. "because she knows it's going to be a firestorm when I get there and she didn't want me to face it alone." Kelly McAllister said she stands behind him "100 percent."

"I think it's best for me, for my family and for the fifth district to allow somebody else [to serve]," he told reporters at the airport Monday. "I don't think it's fair for me to keep people guessing. It's a tough decision; don't get me wrong. But you know, being away three to four days a week in D.C. every week with my wife and my family at home, it's just not the right fit for us and what we're going through."

During his four months in office, McAllister has proven something of a penchant for controversy. In January, he told his district Chamber of Commerce that his new job on Capitol Hill "sucks." About a week later, he drummed up considerable chatter when he brought as his State of the Union guest "Duck Dynasty" star Willie Robertson despite backlash surrounding an elder Robertson's disparaging remarks about same-sex marriage.

McAllister's concession marks the latest development in what's been a tough year for some Republicans on Capitol Hill. Indicted by the Justice Department for mail, wire and health care fraud and perjury, among other charges, Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., was booked Monday morning at the New York FBI office; in January, former Rep. Trey Radel stepped down from his Florida seat after being arrested for buying cocaine.

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