Voters select nominees in Louisiana special election primary
Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Political newcomer Vance McAllister (R) will take on two-term state Senator Neil Riser (R) after winning in the open primary election on October 19, 2013. Riser managed to get nearly a third of the overall vote, but was not able to pass the fifty percent threshold needed in order to win the seat outright. McAllister came in second in a field of thirteen other candidates with about eighteen percent of the overall vote.
Turnout for the open primary was low, with less than 22 percent of voters showing up at the polls.
The special election is being held to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Rep. Rodney Alexander (R). Gov. Bobby Jindal announced on August 7, 2013, that Alexander will take over as the next Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs. Alexander's resignation was effective on September 26, 2013.
In Louisiana, all candidates run on one primary ballot, regardless of party. If no candidate receives 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote recipients advance to a runoff that determines the winner of the seat, regardless of party affiliation. Because no candidate secured more than fifty percent of the vote in the primary, Riser and McAllister will face off in the runoff election to decide the winner of the seat.
Louisiana's 5th Congressional District is a safe Republican district. The 5th Congressional District is the largest geographically in the state, encompassing 22 parishes in the northeast and central parts of the state.
State senator Neil Riser was seen as the front-runner, having led in polls prior to the primary and campaign fundraising, and was widely expected to receive the most votes in the open primary. Several candidates accused Gov. Bobby Jindal and outgoing Rep. Rodney Alexander of tipping off Riser early to the fact that Alexander would step down from his seat on August 6, 2013. They say this allowed Riser to form a campaign team and start accumulating funds ahead of the rest of the candidate pool. Riser, Alexander and Jindal's offices have all denied the claims.
In a statement released on the night of the primary McAllister said, "I knew we worked hard. I did everything I could do, and it was in the Good Lord's hands. I'm kind of at a loss for words. I'm speechless. It's humbling to do know that this many people in this district can believe in somebody like that."
|U.S. House, Louisiana District 5 Special Election Open Primary, 2013|
|Republican||Phillip "Blake" Weatherly||0.5%||517|
|Libertarian||Henry Herford, Jr.||0.9%||886|
|Source: Official results via Louisiana Secretary of State|
- Louisiana's 5th Congressional District special election, 2013
- Louisiana's 5th Congressional District
- Louisiana elections, 2013
- United States House of Representatives
- Special elections to the 113th United States Congress (2013-2014)
- Louisiana Secretary of State, "U. S. Representative -- 5th Congressional District," accessed October 19, 2013
- The News Star, "Special election set Oct. 19; qualifying this month," accessed August 8, 2013
- The Republic, "Riser and McAllister headed to November runoff for Louisiana's 5th District congressional seat," accessed October 19, 2013
- Nola.com, "Rodney Alexander to join Jindal administration, departure from Congress will trigger special election," accessed August 8, 2013
- Roll Call, "Riser, McAllister Advance to Runoff in Louisiana House Special Election," accessed October 19, 2013
- Roll Call, "Louisiana Congressman to Endorse Candidate for Alexander’s Seat #LA05," accessed August 8, 2013
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- Roll Call, "Special Election Whirlwind Week Starts Today," accessed October 17, 2013
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- Fresno Bee, "Riser and McAllister in runoff for 5th District," accessed October 19, 2013
- Sun Herald, "Riser in November runoff for 5th District seat," accessed October 19, 2013