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Rep. Vance McAllister tryst prompts campaign scramble

Rep. Vance McAllister, the embattled Louisiana Republican who was caught on tape kissing a staffer earlier this month, will likely have to add a serious challenge for his congressional seat to his list of woes.

Several politicians, experts and consultants all spy an opening for someone to challenge the freshman congressman, who has insisted that he is still running for office despite public calls from both Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., and state Republican Party chairman Roger Villere for him to step down from the seat.

Perhaps the biggest threat could be former Rep. Rodney Alexander, McAllister's Democrat-turned-Republican predecessor. Alexanderstepped down from the House seat in 2013 to take a job as the secretary for veterans' affairs in Jindal's cabinet despite winning his sixth election in 2012 with 78 percent of the vote.

"I would never say anything is off the table," Alexander told the Monroe News-Star last week. "If I felt like the people of Louisiana and the 5th District wanted me for a particular purpose or office, I am willing to serve them."

He did not, however, echo the calls for McAllister to resign, saying he didn't think it was appropriate for him to comment.

"I don't know anything about the situation other than what I've read in news reports," Alexander said. "That's something between Vance and his family and his consistuents."

State Republicans, meanwhile, have concluded that McAllister's future is troubled.

"He's a dead duck," former Rep. Clyde Holloway, R-La., told The Advocate, a Baton Rouge newspaper. Baton Rouge consultant Trey Ourso, said, "A strong Democrat would have a real shot."

Democratic state Rep. Robert Johnson, who ran for Alexander's seat after he resigned, is considering a bid, and some well-known elected officials like Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo and Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy have kept quiet, the Advocate reports.

The rural 5th congressional district is heavily Republican (President Obama only received 37 percent of the vote there in 2012), but with Democrats working hard to boost turnout for Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who's facing a tough re-election bid in November, a strong Democratic congressional candidate could receive a bump from the party's efforts.

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