MONROE, La. — To Louisiana voters accustomed to tawdry scandals involving elected officials, disappointment with an eye toward forgiveness is the prevailing sentiment about their new congressman, caught on video embracing an aide married to one of his friends.
Republican Vance McAllister was a wealthy businessman without prior political experience when he won a special election last fall, trouncing his party’s establishment candidate in a conservative district that comprises northeast Louisiana.
While some Republicans have urged the faith-and-family politician to resign, McAllister has said he will respect the verdict of his constituents this fall, when he seeks a full two-year term.
McAllister’s “main thing now is to get straight with his family,” said Jackie Coleman, a retired law enforcement officer from Olla, south of Monroe.
“Then, this should be over,” said Coleman, one of McAllister’s constituents interviewed by The Associated Press.
Many are as eager to speculate how a local newspaper got video of McAllister kissing Melissa Peacock as they are to offer an opinion about what it shows.
There’s been little subtlety in the response from Republican powers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal said he should quit. So did the state Republican chairman, who said McAllister had become an “embarrassment.”
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said McAllister has “decisions that he has to make.”
The closest thing to support McAllister has found among his colleagues are statements of concern for his wife and five children.
Many voters seem more inclined to forgiveness.
Wearing a T-shirt from her Baptist church in the community of Start, Pamela Nolan made it clear she abhors marital infidelity of any kind.
But, the hospital pharmacist added, “What laws has he broken? What trust has he violated, other than his wife’s? ... The next election should be the determinant of how we feel about it.”