NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge has upheld upholds Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriage, refusing to recognize out-of-state same-sex unions.
On Thursday afternoon, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) approved a measure that is expected to close four of the state’s five abortion clinics. The new law is directly modeled on similar clinic restrictions in Texas that are already wreaking havoc on women’s access to abortion services in the Lone Star State.
Jindal also signed a measure that will ban Planned Parenthood employees from providing any material about sexual health in public schools. After approving the two pieces of legislation in a Baptist church, the governor released a statement saying he’s “proud to sign these bills because they will help us continue to protect women and the life of the unborn in our state.”
Women’s health advocates, who are concerned about the dwindling access to legal abortion services as Southern states continue to pass harsh restrictions on clinics, disagree.
“When Gov. Jindal heralds his newly enacted law, he is celebrating a measure that corners women into using dangerous back alley procedures, unlicensed practitioners and the black market drugs already seen peddled on the streets of New Orleans,” Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement. “By shuttering nearly all legal providers of abortion care in the state, Gov. Jindal is putting at risk the health and safety not only of Louisiana women, but women from the region whose access to safe medical care in their own states has also been foreclosed.”
Since Texas’ harsh restrictions on abortion clinics grabbed headlines last summer, women’s access to abortion clinics has taken a sharp turn for the worse. Dozens of clinics are being forced to close in Texas, leaving hundreds of miles of the state without access to a single abortion provider. Similar laws are tied up in court in Mississippi and Alabama, but would have a similar impact if they’re allowed to take effect. And this legislative session, Louisiana and Oklahoma have moved forward with their own Texas-style clinic regulations. Women in the region are running out of options.
In order to justify tighter regulations on abortion clinics and providers, anti-choice lawmakers like Jindal typically claim that additional policies — like requiring doctors to have admitting privileges with local hospitals, which is the subject of Louisiana’s new law — are necessary to keep women safe. In reality, that’s been thoroughly debunked by medical professionals, who point out that these laws have no real basis in health and safety.
“Major medical groups like ACOG and AMA oppose these laws because they actually harm women by preventing them from getting high quality medical care,” Jennifer Dalven, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union Reproductive Freedom Project, pointed out. “Given that doctors and medical groups oppose these laws, we have to ask ourselves why some politicians are pushing them?”
The main reason that politicians continue to push them is because they’ve been incredibly politically successful. By framing abortion restrictions in bureaucratic terms, it’s possible for these policies to fly under the radar, rather than provoking the widespread outrage that outright bans on abortion tend to inspire.
The only clinic in Louisiana that currently has admitting privileges is one located in Shreveport. The abortion clinics in Baton Rogue and New Orleans likely won’t be able to comply with the law, leaving impoverished women who can’t afford to make a long trip to another city with few options. Amy Irvin, a founding board member of the New Orleans Abortion Fund, an organization that helps low-income people access reproductive services, recently told ThinkProgress that women in the state are “under siege.”
These states have all rushed to approve new and dangerous abortion restrictions in the past month.
Attacks on women’s reproductive rights have spread rapidly across the country, as state legislatures have enacted a record-breaking number of restrictions on abortion over the past several years. Last summer, all eyes were on Texas while activists protested against a harsh anti-choice measure that’s now forcing clinics to close. This year, there are some new battlegrounds to keep an eye on.
The following states have each approved new abortion restrictions within the past month that represent serious threats to women’s right to choose:
On Wednesday, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) approved a measure requiring abortion doctors to obtain admitting privileges from a local hospital — the same exact measure that was recently enacted in Texas. Although admitting privilege requirements are cloaked in the language of women’s health and safety, doctors agree that they’re entirely medically unnecessary, a thinly veiled tactic for eliminating access to legal abortion.
It’s not hard to see the potentially catastrophic impact of the new law, thanks to the precedent that’s been set by the Lone Star State. Since Texas’ admitting privileges law took effect, multiple clinics have been forced out of business, and some doctors have lost their licenses because they can’t comply with the medically unnecessary policy. That’s left a huge swath of the state without access to a single reproductive health facility.
“If this law is allowed to stand, it will further expand the massive areas of the United States where women’s constitutional right to safely and legally end a pregnancy is under siege by politicians attempting to make abortion nearly inaccessible by driving more and more good health care providers out of practice,” Nancy Northrup, the president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, warned in a statement.
Just like nearby Oklahoma, lawmakers in Louisiana recently approved an admitting privileges bill that’s directly modeled on the one in Texas. It’s still awaiting Gov. Bobby Jindal’s signature, but the Republican leader has already confirmed he plans to sign it. The measure is expected to close at least three of the state’s five abortion clinics.
And that’s not all. The Louisiana legislature has been busy attacking reproductive rights from all angles during this current session, and lawmakers have advanced several other anti-choice measures. In addition to the clinic restrictions, the state also approved a bill this week that will bar abortion providers from distributing any health information in public schools. The measure is intended to directly target Planned Parenthood, even though the women’s health organization is the largest sex ed provider in the country.
Reproductive rights activists in the state are pressuring Jindal to veto the two pieces of legislation. “Over and over we’ve witnessed numerous attacks on women, men, adolescents and families’ health. By now, it is clear that legislators are playing politics instead of increasing much needed access to health care and health education,” a petition from Planned Parenthood of the Gulf Coast reads.
Halfway through May, lawmakers in Missouri approved a measure that will triple the state’s current waiting period for an abortion, requiring women to wait a full three days before being allowed to have the procedure. Only two other states, Utah and South Dakota, currently have waiting periods that long.
Similarly to Louisiana, the abortion opponents in Missouri haven’t been content with just one bill attacking abortion rights. This session, the legislature has considered over 30 separate abortion restrictions. Since the state already has just one abortion clinic left, lawmakers are essentially focusing all of their attention on regulating a single building.
Women’s health activists have also been frustrated with lawmakers’ attitudes this session, accusing male politicians of making condescending assumptions about women’s inability to make health care decisions for themselves. One GOP representative compared choosing an abortion to buying a car, suggesting that women simply need more time to think to prevent them from making a hasty decision. His female colleagues called the comparison “extremely offensive” and “demeaning to women,” and activists protested by dressing up as cars in a legislative hearing.
It’s important to put newly approved abortion restrictions in the context of the anti-choice laws that are already on the books in surrounding states. For instance, if Louisiana and Oklahoma both enact admitting privileges requirements, they’ll join several other Southern states — Mississippi, Alabama and Texas — that have already approved them. Although Mississippi and Alabama are in the midst of legal challenges that have temporarily blocked their laws from taking effect, the country isn’t too far off from a future in which harsh restrictions on abortion providers are in place throughout the South. Slowly but surely, Southern women’s access to abortion clinics is disappearing.
“You’re looking at huge swaths of the country where women’s options are becoming severely limited,” Amanda Allen, the state legislative counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights, recently pointed out.
Source: Tara-Culp Ressler for ThinkProgress
For months, the state has been quietly laying the groundwork to shutter clinics — and it’s poised to accomplish that goal.
The Lone Star State, which now contains a 400-mile swath without a single abortion provider, has become somewhat of a symbol for what happens when harsh state laws force reproductive health clinics out of business. But Texas is hardly the only state that’s successfully advancing this type of anti-choice agenda. In Louisiana, for instance, lawmakers have been quietly laying the groundwork to shutter clinics for the past several months — and they’re currently poised to accomplish that goal.
The latest installment of this saga involves Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), who is currently pushing for a state investigation into Baton Rogue’s only abortion clinic, alleging that it violated federal privacy laws. On Tuesday, Vitter sent a letter to the state’s health department along these lines. Even though the letter doesn’t contain any specific allegations, it asks the department to “impose serious consequences” on the clinic if the accusations are proven true.
Reproductive rights advocates are questioning the timing of Vitter’s concerns. On Wednesday, state lawmakers are scheduled to hear House Bill 388, a measure that’s directly modeled after the new abortion restrictions in Texas. Vitter’s letter, which was released just one day before the final vote, may be intended to influence state lawmakers by reinforcing the myth that reproductive health facilities need tighter regulations.
“It seems like very suspicious timing that David Vitter would release information about an investigation the day before the House hears the bill for final passage,” Ellie Schilling, the lawyer who represents Louisiana’s abortion clinics, told the Times-Picayune. “I’m not really sure why David Vitter is involving himself in this.”
HB 388 would require the abortion providers in the state to obtain admitting privileges from a local hospital, a medically unnecessary requirement that’s often impossible for clinics to comply with. It will likely force the majority of Louisiana’s five clinics to close.
This type of legislation is known as the Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, or TRAP. It’s an indirect method of restricting women’s access to abortion by making it too complicated and costly for clinics to remain operating. In reality, abortion clinics are alreadyhighly regulated and extremely safe. But conservatives’ rhetoric around “women’s health and safety” has helped advance TRAP laws across the country anyway.
And in Louisiana, abortion opponents have furthered this framework through several different means. At the beginning of this year, the state’s Department of Health and Hospitals attempted to regulate abortion clinics out of existence by imposing complicated and burdensome new rules on abortion providers with little public notice. Those rules were eventually rescinded after a massive outcry. But it’s not hard to see why HB 388, which essentially seeks to accomplish the same goal, has been able to advance so easily this session. The state is all too eager to follow in Texas’ footsteps.
In addition to the admitting privilege requirement, HB 388 includes several other problematic provisions that would limit women’s access to reproductive health care. It would impose a mandatory 24-hour waiting period for surgical abortion procedures. It would also limit the number of abortions that private doctors are allowed to perform before they’re officially considered to be an “abortion provider” — an obscure policy change that could actually have huge implications for women’s access to the procedure, as the number of clinics dwindles and women increasingly turn to private physicians for first-trimester abortions.
Ultimately, these type of restrictions on the medical procedure end up having a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable women, who already struggle to afford the cost of an abortion. Even though Roe v. Wade is still technically the law of the land, an increasing number of harsh state laws ensure that women’s ability to exercise their reproductive rights depend mainly on her bank account and her zip code.
“The New Orleans Abortion Fund is outraged by this bill, which will push women and their families further into poverty,” Amy Irving, a founding board member of the organization, which provides financial assistance to low-income individuals who need to end a pregnancy, told ThinkProgress. “Louisiana lawmakers continue to pass laws that erode our communities’ social safety net and demonstrate that they do not trust women to make decisions about their healthcare and abortion, in particular. This bill will penalize low income women, especially.”
In a previous interview with ThinkProgress, Irving said she’s noticed an uptick in the number of New Orleans women resorting to potentially dangerous methods of ending a pregnancy, like buying abortion-inducing drugs on the black market, as they lose access to legal clinics. That dynamic is already unfolding in Texas in the aftermath of its recent clinic closures, and there’s no reason to think the trend won’t continue in Louisiana if the state passes a similar law.
If Louisiana lawmakers approve HB 388, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) is expected to immediately sign it into law. When it was first introduced, the governor’s office released a statement praising the legislation, saying “these reforms will build upon the work Governor Jindal has done to make Louisiana the most pro-life state in the nation.”
Source: Tara Culp-Ressler for ThinkProgress
“Willie told me that he was a friend and that I needed to work things out privately,” McAllister told his hometown newspaper. He added that he hadn’t spoken to Phil Robertson, the controversial patriarch of the “Duck Dynasty” family, since video of his affair surfaced on Monday.
Willie Robertson had no comment when contacted by the News-Star.
McAllister brought Robertson as his guest to this year’s State of the Union address. Robertson had stumped for the Louisiana Republican last year during his campaign, in which McAllister touted his Christian faith and family values.
The jilted husband of the staffer caught on camera with McAllister said that the congressman was anything but religious.
"I know his beliefs. When he ran one of his commercials, he said ‘I need your prayers,’ and I asked, ‘When did you get religious?’ He said, ‘When I needed votes,’" Heath Peacock told CNN. “He broke out the religious card and he’s about the most non-religious person I know.”
Smile, you’re on Candid Camera! It’s a different day so there’s a different Christian Conservative politician getting caught not practicing what he preaches. Rep. Vance McAllister won his seat by touting his marriage and Christian conservative values to the voters, but apparently those values don’t include extramarital affairs. Who woulda thunk it?
Fifth District Congressman Vance McAllister, who campaigned for office last fall as a devout Christian and devoted husband and father, was caught in video surveillance two days before Christmas passionately embracing and kissing one of his congressional aides.
The Ouachita Citizen obtained the video recording from an anonymous source. The video can be seen at http://ift.tt/1h9Vuc0.The incident occurred at roughly 1:39 p.m. on Dec. 23, 2013, inside McAllister’s congressional office at 1900 Stubbs Ave., Suite B, in Monroe.The woman who McAllister, 40, was caught kissing for almost half a minute is Melissa Anne Hixon Peacock, 33, of 400 Zachary Way, Sterlington. She is McAllister’s district scheduler.
MoveOn’s Billboard Lampooning Gov. Jindal for Denying Health Care to 242,000 Will Stay Up After Court Rejects Louisiana’s Bid for Preliminary Injunction
Moments ago, Judge Shelly D. Dick of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana issued a ruling in Dardenne v MoveOn rejecting the state of Louisiana’s attempt to force MoveOn.org to take down a billboardcriticizing Gov. Bobby Jindal for denying health care to 242,000 Louisianians.
In her ruling, Judge Dick concluded, “the Lieutenant Governor underestimates the intelligence and reasonableness of people viewing the billboard.”
Judge Dick held that:
“The State has not demonstrated a substantial likelihood of prevailing on its burden of proving confusion by viewers of the billboard. Furthermore, the State has failed to demonstrate a compelling reason to curtail MoveOn.org.’s political speech in favor of protecting of the State’s service mark. Finally, the State failed to demonstrate that injunctive relief is required to ameliorate irreparable injury. There has been no showing of irreparable injury to the State.”
Anna Galland, executive director of MoveOn.org Civic Action, had the following response to the judge’s ruling:
“This decision is a victory for common sense, freedom of speech, and the 242,000 Louisianians being denied health care because of Governor Jindal and Louisiana Republicans’ outrageous refusal to let them access Medicaid. What it means is, our billboard is staying up.
“While we are pleased with today’s outcome, it’s a shame that the state filed this baseless lawsuit in the first place — which nearly every lawyer with basic knowledge of the First Amendment said they’d lose. Lt. Gov. Dardenne should apologize to the taxpayers for this waste of time and money — time and money that could have been better spent finding ways to get Louisianians access to health care.
“For us, this campaign has never been primarily about a billboard, or freedom of speech. It is about expanding access to health care and exposing the fact that Governor Jindal, in an effort to appease the far right-wing element of his party in advance of a likely 2016 run for the White House, has denied 242,000 Louisianians health care coverage. That decision shows that Governor Jindal cares more about politics than people.
“We will not be intimidated or silenced in our campaign to bring health care to Americans who need it. The truth is that denying health care to 242,000 Louisianians and 5 million Americans is a choice that Governor Jindal and Republican governors and legislators across the country are making – and for no good reason.
“Medicaid expansion would be fully funded by the federal government for three years, and then at least 90 percent of the funding would be guaranteed to come from the federal government forever. By saying no to this money, what Governor Jindal is doing is essentially taxing the people of Louisiana to pay for Medicaid for people in other states, but refusing to allow Louisianians to reap the benefits.
“242,000 isn’t just a statistic. It’s a number that represents the real stories of real people, like MoveOn member Veronica Russell, who lives in New Orleans, and earns just above the threshold to be eligible for traditional Medicaid, yet falls into the gap where she earns too little to receive subsidies for health care on the marketplace. So now she’s stuck without health care.
“That’s outrageous. If you work hard, if you contribute to society in the richest country on earth, you ought to be able to access health care. And one of the great things about the Affordable Care Act was that it finally gave people like Veronica an opportunity to get covered. But state officials like Governor Jindal continue to stand in the way.
“We are doubling down on our campaign to ensure every American has access to health care. We are expanding our billboard campaign in Louisiana. And we will will not rest until Governor Jindal and all of the other Republicans blocking access to Medicaid get out of the way.”
Later on during the town hall, Vitter heaped some more praise on the Koch brothers, which again, sparked applause.
"Maybe this is a good example because I’ll be honest with you, God Bless the Koch brothers," Vitter added. “They’re fighting for our freedoms.”
Uhh, Mr. Diaper Boy, the Koch Brothers are two of the most treasonous Americans ever in the history of our fine nation, NOT “heroes” or “patriots.”
Louisiana Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne offers state aid to keep ‘Duck Dynasty’ on the air | The Raw Story
Jay Dardenne, the lieutenant governor of Louisiana whose responsibilities include promoting tourism, wrote an open letter to cast of Duck Dynasty in which he offered “to use his influence among Louisiana’s growing motion picture industry to seek…
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) seems to have completed its disintegration from an organization that presented polished “pro-marriage” talking points to one that applauds homophobia and openly attacks homosexuality like the rest of its fellow opponents of marriage equality. Phil Robertson, patriarch of A&E’s Duck Dynasty, said in a new GQ interview published Wednesday that homosexuality is a sin comparable to bestiality, adultery, and prostitution, musing, “It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus,” and NOM’s Brian Brown couldn’t agree more:
Well guess what — homosexuality IS a sin in the bible, and virtually every other sacred text out there. Engaging in homosexual sex IS considered by God to be sinful according to the teachings of most religions. And sin is NOT logical.Sin is deceitful, harmful and degrading to the human soul.
After harsh blowback for the comments, Robertson issued a non-apology, and by the end of Wednesday, A&E had announced he was “under hiatus from filming indefinitely.” Under the guise of a “petition” that doesn’t display signatures — so it will really only be used to collect information for future fundraising requests — NOM encouraged supporters to “stand with Phil Robertson,” using his comments to decry LGBT groups who spoke out, like the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and GLAAD:
But Christianity, and every other major religion, be damned in the eyes of the HRC, GLAAD and their allies. They will brook no objection, tolerate no dissent and accept no disagreement when it comes to their orthodoxy. In their twisted worldview, anyone who dares to speak the truth about homosexuality must be punished and effectively banished from civil society.
But HRC didn’t send its letter to A&E alone; it was a joint letter with the NAACP. That’s because Robertson also maderacially insensitive remarks, suggesting that African Americans were more content under Jim Crow laws: “They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.” NOM makes no mentions of these remarks nor does it comment at all upon the NAACP’s joint reaction with HRC. This could be because acknowledging LGBT people and people of color standing in solidarity against oppressive speech would be contrary to their plans to “drive a wedge between gays and blacks.”
NOM is not alone in standing with Robertson. Conservatives across Twitter — tweeting with the hashtag #FreePhilRobertson— have joined together in rushing to his defense. A Facebook group called “Stand With Phil Robertson” already has well over 300,000 “Likes.” Fox News’ Todd Starnes was quick to attack detractors as “anti-straight groups.” Sarah Palin eagerly reminded her fans that she’s met the Duck Dynasty family, suggesting that “free speech is an endangered species.” The Westboro Baptist Church urged Robertson not to apologize because they were proud he “finally applied the Bible standard.” The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer proclaimed, “What Phil said was not hate speech. It was the truth. The truth is only hate speech to those who hate the truth.”
Major newspapers in Louisiana have been largely silent about the burgeoning state political career of Family Research Council (FRC) president Tony Perkins, mostly ignoring the hate group leader’s history of extreme anti-LGBT politics.
Perkins’ Rise In Louisiana Politics
Perkins’ political ascendance in Louisiana began nearly two decades ago, with his election to the state House of Representatives. He served in that body from 1996 to 2004, making an unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2002. During his time in the legislature, Perkins founded the right-wing Louisiana Family Forum out of a reported ”concern about the influence of the homosexual movement.” He cemented his role as a social conservative leader when he assumed the presidency of the FRC in 2003.
While the FRC is based in Washington, Perkins has always kept one foot in Louisiana, commuting to Washington from the state every week, Perkins considered launching a primary challenge to Republican Sen. David Vitter in 2010, ultimately opting to sit that race out. Perkins has cultivated a close relationship with Gov. Bobby Jindal, who appointed Perkins to the Louisiana Commission on Marriage and Family in 2008. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), however, notes that Perkins skipped all of the commission’s meetings.
Perkins’ dismal attendance record notwithstanding, Jindal announced this September that he was naming Perkins to the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement, which is responsible for awarding grants, officer training, and law enforcement regulation. Slate noted that in a state where anti-sodomy laws remain on the books and gay men have recently been arrested for having sex, the virulently anti-gay Perkins now has a role overseeing law enforcement.
Within weeks of his appointment to the law enforcement commission, Perkins expressed interest in seeking the open U.S. House seat from Louisiana’s sixth congressional district in 2014. Perkins would join what’s likely to be a jam-packed field of Republicans vying for the seat, but he says he finds it “an attractive prospect to be closer to home.”
If past is indeed prologue, social issues will be at the forefront of a Perkins congressional campaign. During his decade at the helm of the FRC, Perkins has amassed a record as one of the country’s most rabid opponents of LGBT equality. The FRC’s malicious, baseless smears against LGBT people led the SPLC to designate the organization an anti-gay hate group in 2010, and Perkins’ own history of anti-LGBT commentary helps illuminate why.
To Perkins, gay people are ”intolerant,” “hateful,” “vile,” “spiteful” and “pawns” of “the enemy.” Perkins has spread the myth that there’s a link between homosexuality and pedophilia, calling the sexual abuse of children “a homosexual problem.” He has called the It Gets Better project to affirm LGBT youth a “disgusting” ploy to “recruit” youth into the gay “lifestyle.” The punishment for being part of that “lifestyle”? "Eternal damnation," according to Perkins.
Perkins doesn’t merely oppose marriage equality as a matter of public policy. He says it’s nothing short of a grave "evil." And not only did Perkins vigorously oppose lifting the ban on open service by LGB soldiers; he proclaimed that members of Congress who voted to end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell had the "blood of young Marines" on their hands.
Given his apocalyptic take on what LGBT equality would mean for the country, it came as little surprise when Perkins warned of a "revolution" if the Supreme Court were to legalize same-sex marriage.
In addition to his record of anti-LGBT extremism, Perkins also has ties to white supremacist groups.
While managing Woody Jenkins’ 1996 campaign for the U.S. Senate, Perkins paid $82,500 to use the phone bank used by former KKK leader and 1991 GOP gubernatorial nominee David Duke. The phone bank was maintained by Impact Mail Ltd., in which Duke held a financial stake. Perkins claimed not to know “the complete Duke connection” at the time of the purchase. However, upon discovering the connection, he rerouted the payment through Courtney Communications, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported in 2002. “[P]olitically, we didn’t want to be connected with Duke,” Perkins explained. According to the SPLC, Jenkins’ campaign ultimately paid a $3,000 fine for filing false disclosure forms as part of a failed attempt to cover up its ties to Duke.
Perkins’ links to white supremacists didn’t end with Duke. In 2001, the SPLC notes, Perkins spoke before a meeting of the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens. Perkins later feigned ignorance of the group’s white supremacist beliefs, but a photo from the event shows him speaking in front of a Confederate flag.
Duck Dynasty's role in the LA-05 GOP v. GOP runoff gets discussed on tonight's Maddow.
From the 11.18.2013 edition of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show:
Daily Kos: Louisiana council chair on defunding libraries: 'They're teaching Mexicans how to speak English'
Library funding in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, may be diverted to a new jail thanks to a legislator who doesn’t approve of the library’s programs. Jail proponent and chair of the Lafourche Parish Council Lindel Toups supports a ballot measure that would take funding away from libraries.
“They’re teaching Mexicans how to speak English,” Toups told the local Tri-Parish Times, referencing Biblioteca Hispana, a Spanish-language section of one of the nine branch libraries. “Let that son of a bitch go back to Mexico. There’s just so many things they’re doing that I don’t agree with. … Them junkies and hippies and food stamps [recipients] and all, they use the library to look at drugs and food stamps [on the Internet]. I see them do it.”
Library System Director Laura Sanders seems a patient person, but still manages an impressive rebuttal:
She noted that for Toups, the issue of the jail’s condition is a personal one. “He does have family members that are incarcerated,” she says.
#LA05: Duck Dynasty-Endorsed Vance McAllister upsets Neil Riser in Louisiana House runoff - Alex Isenstadt
Businessman Vance McAllister has won the special runoff election for a vacant northeast Louisiana congressional seat, notching an upset win over fellow Republican Neil Riser, according to the Associated Press.
With 99 percent of precincts reporting, McAllister, a political newcomer, led Riser, a state senator who had won the support of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and much of the state’s GOP congressional delegation, 59.7 percent to 40.3 percent.
McAllister will succeed former GOP Rep. Rodney Alexander, who resigned in August to take a job in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration after spending more than a decade in the House.
Riser entered the runoff as the favorite, having finished more than 12 percentage points ahead of McAllister in October’s crowded primary. Riser, who has held elected office since 2008, benefited from having an existing political organization – an advantage in an expansive district that takes up a large portion of the state. He outspent McAllister by more than $200,000, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. And he had the backing of many political figures, including Alexander.
But McAllister fought back, portraying himself as an anti-establishment figure. While Riser received support from political action committees, McAllister - who made a fortune in the oil business - relied heavily on his personal wealth, contributing over $500,000 of his own money to his campaign. Much of it was spent on TV ads in which he pointed out that he wasn’t a politician.
Running in an impoverished part of the state, McAllister competed aggressively for blue-collar voters. During the closing days of the race he aired a TV ad spotlighting an endorsement from Willie Robertson, a star in the popular A&E reality series “Duck Dynasty,” which is about a family-run duck-call business. And late in the race, McAllister gambled big by tacking to the left and expressing support for certain planks of Obamacare – a move designed to win over low-income voters and Democrats, who were allowed to vote in the primary and runoff.
Willie Robertson declined to run for the seat himself.
"Duck Dynasty" star Willie Robertson resisted entreaties to run in a special congressional election this year, but he’s still getting involved in the race.
Robertson is out with a new 15-second ad endorsing businessman Vance McAllister (R), the underdog in the race to replace former congressman Rodney Alexander (R-La.).
McAllister faces state Sen. Neil Riser (R) in a runoff Saturday. Riser was the top vote-getter in the open primary, taking 32 percent, compared to McAllister’s 18 percent.
The 5th district is home to the Robertsons, who have the most popular cable TV reality show of all time, and they have previously appeared at events for McAllister.