Scandals Old And New Mark House Races In LA

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Louisiana U.S. House races on Tuesday's ballot were mostly dreary matters by the state's historically colorful standards, with incumbents in line for easy re-election in four of six districts. There were two notable exceptions.

         In the 6th District, 87-year-old Edwin Edwards — casting himself as an elder statesman rather than an ex-convict — hoped to rekindle the political magic that won him the state's governorship four times. As the only prominent Democrat in the race, Edwards was considered likely to earn a runoff spot against one of several prominent Republicans, including state Sen. Dan Claitor, software company owner Paul Dietzel II, former state coastal chief Garret Graves and state Rep. Lenar Whitney.

         And in the 5th District, incumbent Vance McAllister — the Duck Dynasty-anointed Republican who ran and won his seat as a family values candidate — saw the certainty of his re-election evaporate after he was caught on video kissing a woman other than his wife. McAllister faced eight challengers, including the Democratic Mayor of Monroe, Jamie Mayo.

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         Republicans included political newcomer Zach Dasher (a relative of the Duck Dynasty stars who now has their endorsement), Dr. Ralph Abraham, businessman Harris Brown and Public Service Commissioner Clyde Holloway.

         Republicans Steve Scalise in the 1st District, Charles Boustany in the 3rd and John Fleming in the 4th and Democrat Cedric Richmond in the 2nd all faced little-known opponents.

         While Edwards was expected to move on to a Dec. 6 runoff, victory was far less likely for the lifelong Democrat in the sprawling gerrymandered area encompassing part of Baton Rouge plus rural and suburban areas north and south of the city. The district tends to vote strongly Republican and conservative support was expected to coalesce around whoever might wind up the runoff.

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         Edwards staked out notably centrist views in contrast to his Republican opponents: backing same-sex civil unions (but not gay marriage); supporting a minimum wage increase; favoring the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act even as he voiced complaints about the act overall.

         Rounding out the field were Republicans Robert Bell, Craig McCulloch and Trey Thomas; Libertarian Rufus Craig Jr.; Democrats Richard Lieberman and Peter Williams.

         In northeast Louisiana's 5th District, self-made millionaire McAllister was considered something of a dragon slayer when he won a race to fill the unexpired term of another Republican.

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         Louisiana's GOP establishment had backed another candidate, but McAllister ultimately won, casting himself as a conservative Christian GOP member who would reach across the aisle to work with Democrats. An endorsement from members of the "Duck Dynasty" family didn't hurt.

         But, months after he took office, security camera video surfaced that showed the married congressman kissing a staffer, a woman married to someone else. McAllister at first said he would finish his term and not seek re-election. Then he changed his mind. Analysts said a runoff spot was a possibility for the incumbent, but not a certainty.

         – by AP Reporter Kevin McGill

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