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GOP leaders keep distance from Rep. McAllister

Published 10:56pm Tuesday, April 8, 2014

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Republicans kept their distance Tuesday from a Louisiana congressman who asked for forgiveness after a newspaper published a video it says shows him kissing a woman who isn’t his wife.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said he was pleased U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister offered an apology. But Cantor declined to say whether he thought the Louisiana congressman should remain on the job, as the fall-out threatened McAllister’s November re-election.

McAllister spokeswoman Jennifer Dunagin said Tuesday that the woman in the video, Melissa Peacock, “voluntarily resigned effective yesterday.”

The GOP congressman hasn’t returned calls from The Associated Press, and Dunagin didn’t answer questions about whether McAllister intended to continue his planned re-election bid. But in an interview with The News-Star, he said he’ll be on the fall ballot “unless there is an outcry for me not to serve.”

The freshman lawmaker ran as a political outsider, noting he’d never been to Washington before he was elected to Congress. He relied on his own personal wealth and the national and local attention drawn to his election bid with an endorsement from the bearded men of the popular “Duck Dynasty” reality TV show.

But he also ran on a platform of faith and family, raising questions about whether McAllister’s apology will be enough to satisfy voters who supported his candidacy. The congressional election is Nov. 4.

Cantor, of Virginia, said McAllister’s constituents deserved the apology. He said he would “reserve further judgment” on the burgeoning scandal.