Ordinarily there would be nothing remarkable about a campaign ad in which a candidate’s adoring wife vouches for his strong moral character. When the candidate was caught on video cheating on his wife just months earlier, however, it’s bound to stand out.
Louisiana Republican Rep. Vance McAllister was dubbed “the Kissing Congressman” in April after a local newspaper published security camera footage showing him and a top staffer passionately locking lips. Now locked in a tough re-election fight, McAllister’s new ad, “Blessed,” features his wife, Kelly, proclaiming her support.
"I'm lucky to have been blessed with a great family and a wonderful Christian wife,” the congressman says in the ad.
“And I’m blessed to have a husband who owns up to his mistakes, never gives up, always fighting for the good people of Louisiana,” his wife responds.
At one point, the camera cuts to a shot of the two holding hands with Mrs. McAllister’s engagement ring prominently visible. At the end, it fades into footage of the congressman smiling with his children outside.
McAllister said in an interview with the New Orleans Times-Picayune that the ad reflected the importance of his wife to the campaign.
"I think a lot of people want to know where my wife is," he told the newspaper. "We want people to know we're stronger now than we ever were before. She said if we're going to [run again], we're doing it together."
Republican House leaders pressured McAllister to resign after the kissing video emerged. Instead, he announced he wouldn’t run for re-election, only to reverse his decision in June, saying he had reconsidered after talking things over with his wife and family. The aide in the video, Melissa Peacock, resigned as soon as the story broke.
A poll this month by The Glascock Group found McAllister garnering 20% of likely voters’ support, narrowly trailing Republican Dr. Ralph Abraham’s 22% and narrowly leading Democratic Mayor Jamie Mayo’s 15%. Other Republican candidates in the race include Zach Dasher, who’s a relative of the family featured in Duck Dynasty; Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Clyde Holloway; businessman Harris Brown; and Grant Parish District Attorney Ed Tarpley.