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2013 Louisiana's 5th congressional district special election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2013 Louisiana's 5th congressional district special election

← 2012 November 16, 2013 2014 →
Vance McAllister.jpg
No image.svg
Nominee Vance McAllister Neil Riser
Party Republican Republican
Popular vote 54,449 36,837
Percentage 59.7% 40.4%

Parish results

McAllister:      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%      80–90%

Riser:      50–60%      60–70%      80–90%

U.S. Representative before election

Rodney Alexander

Elected U.S. Representative

Vance McAllister

A special election for Louisiana's 5th congressional district was held on November 16, 2013, to elect a member of the United States House of Representatives.[1] Incumbent Republican Congressman Rodney Alexander resigned on September 26, 2013, to become the Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs under Governor Bobby Jindal.[2]

The primary election was held on October 19, 2013. Under Louisiana's jungle primary system, all candidates appear on the same ballot, regardless of party. As no candidate received 50 percent plus one vote during the primary election, the general election was held on November 16 between the top two candidates in the primary, Republicans Neil Riser, a state senator from Columbia in Caldwell Parish, and Vance McAllister, a businessman from Swartz.[3] In the general election, McAllister handily defeated Riser to win the seat.[3]


On August 6, 2013, Alexander announced that he would not seek a seventh term in the House in the 2014 congressional elections. He cited his weariness with partisanship in Washington, D.C., as the primary reason for his decision to retire.[4] On August 7, Alexander moved up his timetable for departure from Congress. He resigned his seat effective September 26. Alexander joined the administration of Governor Bobby Jindal as the new secretary of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs.[5]


The day after Alexander announced his resignation, Republican state senator Neil Riser publicly declared his candidacy and launched his website. Within days, he had hired a campaign manager and started distributing campaign material. Riser's unusually fast response to the unexpected announcement of the special election led to charges of favoritism by Alexander and Governor Jindal. Specifically, that they colluded to declare Alexander's appointment to the State Cabinet in a surprise announcement and ensure a short filing period so as to benefit Riser, who, it was alleged, knew of Alexander's plans in advance.[6]

Riser had filed documents with the Federal Election Commission to run in the special election the day before Alexander announced his resignation, although he claimed that this was a "clerical error" on the part of the FEC.[7] Additionally, Riser had traveled through the district for several months with Alexander before the announcement and had been endorsed by every Republican congressman from Louisiana within days.[8] An editorial by The Town Talk said: "If this feels a lot like someone has stolen your vote, well, let’s just say you’re not alone."[9]

Republican state representative Jay Morris declared his candidacy and accused Alexander and Jindal of trying to "rig the election", adding that "it appears to me some sort of deal was made to grant an advantage to [Riser]. It disturbs me and should disturb everyone that an election could be manipulated like this."[10][11] Democratic state senator Rick Gallot had considered joining the race but declined, citing the short time frame and unexpected nature of the announcement.[12] When declaring his candidacy, Democrat Jamie Mayo, the mayor of Monroe, said that he assumed the allegations were true, "but I'm not doing to cry over spilled milk."[13] Republican Public Service Commissioner and former Congressman Clyde C. Holloway said that his candidacy for the seat was motivated by suspicions that Alexander and Jindal wanted Riser to win, saying: "This thing stinks... I feel like we tried to have an appointed congressman by the governor and by Rodney... Without any doubt, I think they've been orchestrating this for months."[8][14] The state's junior U.S. Senator, Republican David Vitter, declined to make an endorsement and said that "it's a very quick election. And it's obvious that didn't happen by accident." Attorney Ed Tarpley, who had considered running, said that "Everywhere I go without exception people are angry about what happened. [The short time frame means voters are] deprived of the normal election cycle."[15]

The Jindal administration has responded that the election was not rigged, with press secretary Sean Lansing saying: "There is no truth to [the] claims."[10] Timmy Teepell, who previously worked as a political consultant for Riser and as Jindal's Chief of Staff said: "It's a free country, and nobody is prevented from running. Is two weeks not enough time... to get to Baton Rouge to qualify to run next week?"[11] Alexander said, "There was no deal", and Riser added, "I don’t think it was any secret that I wanted to eventually run for the seat. I've been clear the past two years about my intention to run."[11] After Riser announced that he would run for Congress, Teepell and his Virginia-based On Message, Inc., assumed management of the campaign.[16]


Republican Party




Vance McAllister
Neil Riser

Democratic Party



Libertarian Party


  • Henry Herford, Jr., farmer and former chairman of the Louisiana Republican State Convention[40]
  • Samir B. A. Zaitoon, life insurance agent[17]



Jungle primary


Other polls that were not made public showed that Riser was a "lock" to make the runoff with Holloway "consistently" polling in second place. Morris, McAllister and Mayo also had the potential to make the runoff, with McAllister seen as the most likely to benefit from a slip in support for Holloway.[41]

Poll source Date(s)
Margin of
Guerriero (R)
Hunter (D)
Johnson (D)
Mayo (D)
Morris (R)
Riser (R)
JMC Enterprises August 16, 2013 755 ± 3.6% 5% 5% 11% 11% 10% 29% 29%


Results by parish:  Map legend .mw-parser-output .legend{page-break-inside:avoid;break-inside:avoid-column}.mw-parser-output .legend-color{display:inline-block;min-width:1.25em;height:1.25em;line-height:1.25;margin:1px 0;text-align:center;border:1px solid black;background-color:transparent;color:black}.mw-parser-output .legend-text{}  Riser—70–80%   Riser—60–70%   Riser—50–60%   Riser—40–50%   Riser—30–40%   Riser—<30%   McAllister—<30%   McAllister—60–70%   Mayo—30–40%   Mayo—40–50%   Mayo—50–60%   Holloway—30–40%   Johnson—<30%   Johnson—60–70%   Russell—<30%
Results by parish:
Louisiana's 5th congressional district special election jungle primary[42]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Neil Riser 33,045 31.97%
Republican Vance McAllister 18,386 17.79%
Democratic Jamie Mayo 15,317 14.82%
Republican Clyde C. Holloway 11,250 10.88%
Democratic Robert Johnson 9,971 9.65%
Republican Jay Morris 7,083 6.85%
Democratic Marcus Hunter 3,088 2.99%
Democratic Weldon Russell 2,554 2.47%
Libertarian Henry Herford, Jr. 886 0.86%
Republican Phillip "Blake" Weatherly 517 0.5%
Green Eliot Barron 492 0.48%
Independent Peter Williams 335 0.32%
Independent Tom Gibbs 324 0.31%
Libertarian Samir B. A. Zaitoon 129 0.12%
Total votes 103,337 100
Turnout 21.5%[43]

General election



Riser was the heavy favorite to win and McAllister was thought to have little chance of pulling off an upset.[28][44] Riser raised and spent more money than McAllister, who largely self-financed his campaign. While Riser was backed by both the Republican establishment and the Tea Party, McAllister boasted endorsements from the stars of the television show Duck Dynasty. During the campaign, McAllister ran to Riser's left, particularly on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Riser spoke only of repealing the law whereas McAllister argued that with a Democratic majority in the Senate, repeal had no chance of success and that the two parties should work together to improve the law. He also emphasised his support for two of its key components: the Medicaid expansion and preventing insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.[45] Riser campaigned on his experience and his opposition to President Obama.[46] McAllister campaigned as a pragmatic outsider and won over voters who were frustrated with Congress and politicians in general.[47][48][49][50][51]


Louisiana's 5th congressional district special election, 2013
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Vance McAllister 54,450 59.65% N/A
Republican Neil Riser 36,840 40.35% N/A
Total votes '91,286' '100.0%' N/A
Turnout 18.9%[43]
Republican hold


  1. ^ a b c Hilburn, Greg (August 7, 2013). "Special election set Oct. 19; qualifying this month". The News-Star. Monroe, Louisiana. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  2. ^ McGaughy, Lauren (August 7, 2013). "Rodney Alexander to join Jindal administration, departure from Congress will trigger special election". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  3. ^ a b McGaughy, Lauren (November 7, 2013). "Political newcomer Vance McAllister wins 5th District special election".
  4. ^ "Alexandra Jaffe, "Rodney Alexander to retire from House"". Retrieved August 6, 2013.
  5. ^ "Jordan Blum, Veterans job speeds D.C. exit". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, August 7, 2013. Archived from the original on August 25, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  6. ^ "Crowded field, controversy brings uncertainty to Louisiana's 5th Congressional District race". August 26, 2013. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  7. ^ "Louisiana Sen. Neil Riser says FEC made mistake in candidacy records". August 23, 2013. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  8. ^ a b Deslatte, Melinda (August 21, 2013). "14 candidates in 5th District congressional race". Charlotte Observer. Archived from the original on August 22, 2013. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  9. ^ "Our View: In Louisiana's 5th District, a really early Riser". The Town Talk. August 19, 2013. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  10. ^ a b McGaughy, Lauren (August 13, 2013). "Jindal administration says special congressional election not rigged". Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  11. ^ a b c d Hilburn, Greg (August 13, 2013). "Morris: Jindal, Alexander conspired 'to rig' election". The News Star. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  12. ^ McGaughy, Lauren (August 15, 2013). "State Sen. Rick Gallot will not seek Louisiana's 5th Congressional District seat". Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  13. ^ McGaughy, Lauren (August 16, 2013). "Monroe Mayor jumps into 5th congressional district race". Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  14. ^ "Fourteen qualify for 5th Congressional District seat". August 21, 2013. Archived from the original on June 10, 2015. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  15. ^ a b McGaughy, Lauren (August 16, 2013). "A closer look at those scrambling to enter Louisiana's 5th congressional district race". Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  16. ^ "Riser claims FEC mistaken". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g "Search for candidates". Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  18. ^ Hanna, Jr., Sam (August 9, 2013). "Morris to qualify for 5th District race". The Ouachita Citizen. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  19. ^ McGaughy, Lauren (August 20, 2013). "Three more candidates jump into 5th District race". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved August 21, 2013.
  20. ^ McGaughy, Lauren (August 14, 2013). "Elbert Guillory considering U.S. Senate, Louisiana lieutenant governor run". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  21. ^ a b Lawton, Rick (August 8, 2013). "Who is Running for Rodney Alexander's Seat?". myarklamiss. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  22. ^ Hilburn, Greg (August 6, 2013). "Potential candidates begin positioning". The News-Star. Archived from the original on August 10, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  23. ^ a b McGaughy, Lauren (August 14, 2013). "State Rep. Robert Johnson in, 'Duck Dynasty' star Willie Robertson out in race for Louisiana 5th District seat". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  24. ^ Hilburn, Greg (August 13, 2013). "Terry won't run; field remains crowded". The News-Star. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  25. ^ a b Livingston, Abby (August 7, 2013). "Candidates Line Up for New Special Election The Field #LA05". Roll Call. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  26. ^ Leader, Barbara (August 14, 2013). "Ouachita's Webber considering U.S. Congress run". The News-Star. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  27. ^ "Join Me for a Family Fun Day with Duck Commander Phil Robertson". Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  28. ^ a b Chasmar, Jessica (November 14, 2013). "Duck Dynasty's Willie Robertson endorses 'good buddy' in La. House race". The Washington Times. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  29. ^ "Mayo supports more approachable McAllister". Monroe News-Star. Archived from the original on October 31, 2013. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
  30. ^ McGaughy, Lauren (2013-11-05). "Holloway endorses McAllister ahead of 5th Congressional District election". New Orleans Times-Picayune. New Orleans. Retrieved 2013-11-10.
  31. ^ "Boustany, Fleming endorse state senator for 5th District". KPLCTV. August 8, 2013. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  32. ^ Cahn, Emily (August 22, 2013). "Eric Cantor Backs Candidate in Louisiana House Special". Roll Call. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  33. ^ Livingston, Abby (August 7, 2013). "Louisiana Congressman to Endorse Candidate for Alexander's Seat #LA05". Roll Call. Retrieved August 8, 2013.
  34. ^ Livingston, Abby (August 9, 2013). "Third Congressman Backs Republican in Louisiana Special Election #LA05". Roll Call. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  35. ^ a b "FreedomWorks, Ethics Board and Public Records: Capitol Digest for Friday, Oct. 25, 2013". October 26, 2013. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
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  37. ^ McGaughy, Lauren (August 15, 2013). "State Sen. Rick Gallot will not seek Louisiana's 5th Congressional District seat". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  38. ^ Rodgers, Brandon (August 16, 2013). "Charles Kincade not running for 5th District seat". KNOE-TV. Archived from the original on August 18, 2013. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
  39. ^ Matthews, Jeff (August 18, 2013). "Alexandria mayor won't seek congressional seat". The Town Talk. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
  40. ^ Hasten, Mike (August 20, 2013). "Herford, Mayo, Weatherly qualify for Louisiana's 5th Congressional District race". The Town Talk. Retrieved August 21, 2013.
  41. ^ Cahn, Emily (October 11, 2013). "Louisiana Special: Riser Is Sitting Pretty, but Who Will He Face in Runoff?". Roll Call. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  42. ^ Louisiana Secretary of State - Congressional Election Results
  43. ^ a b "Louisiana Secretary of State - Live Election Results". Archived from the original on 2011-10-27. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  44. ^ Gill, James (November 3, 2013). "James Gill: Riser, Alexander and Jindal". The Advocate. Archived from the original on August 26, 2013. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  45. ^ Isenstadt, Alex (November 12, 2013). "A GOP split over Obamacare in Louisiana race". Politico. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  46. ^ "Duck Dynasty'-backed candidate wins Louisiana congressional election". Fox News. November 17, 2013. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  47. ^ Deslatte, Melinda (November 16, 2013). "Vance McAllister wins 5th District congressional seat". Shreveport Times. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  48. ^ "McAllister apparent winner in 5th District". The Advocate. November 17, 2013. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
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  51. ^ "Newcomer McAllister Wins Special Election in Louisiana". Roll Call. November 16, 2013. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  52. ^!/2013-11-16/resultsRace/Congressional

External links

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