Louisiana's 5th Congressional District special election, 2013

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The 5th Congressional District of Louisiana held a special election for the U.S. House in 2013. The election was held October 19, 2013, with a runoff general election held November 16, 2013.[1][2]

The special election was held to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Rep. Rodney Alexander (R).[3]

Gov. Bobby Jindal announced on August 7, 2013, that Alexander would take over as the next Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs at the end of September 2013.[3] Alexander's resignation was effective September 26, 2013.[3]

Jindal announced the date of the election on August 8, 2013.[4] She added that the governor has complete discretion on the timing of a special election as long as the date allows for overseas military ballots to be distributed.[4]

Louisiana is one of three states to use a blanket primary, or top-two system, which allows all candidates to run and all voters to vote but only moves the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, to the general election. In Louisiana, the runoff general election is only required if no candidate receives 50 percent or more of the primary vote. If the runoff election is not needed, the race is decided with the one election (acting as both the primary and the general election) on November 4, 2014.[5][6][7]

There was no requirement that a candidate live in the district. Candidates must only be state residents.[8]

Louisiana's 5th Congressional District is a safe Republican district.[9] The 5th Congressional District is the largest geographically in the state, encompassing 22 parishes in the northeast and central parts of the state.[10]

Candidate Filing Deadline Open Primary Election Open General Election
August 19-21, 2013
October 19, 2013
November 16, 2013

Candidates

General election

Open primary election

Potential candidates but did not file

Declined to run

Election results

Runoff general election

U.S. House, Louisiana District 5 Runoff General Special Election, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngVance McAllister 59.6% 54,450
     Republican Neil Riser 40.4% 36,840
Total Votes 91,290
Source: Louisiana Secretary of State, "11/16/2013 Special Election Results,"

Primary election

U.S. House, Louisiana District 5 Special Election Open Primary, 2013
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngNeil Riser 32% 33,045
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngVance McAllister 17.8% 18,386
     Republican Clyde Holloway 10.9% 11,250
     Republican Phillip "Blake" Weatherly 0.5% 517
     Republican Jay Morris 6.9% 7,083
     Democratic Marcus Hunter 3% 3,088
     Democratic Robert Johnson 9.6% 9,971
     Democratic Jamie Mayo 14.8% 15,317
     Democratic Weldon Russell 2.5% 2,554
     Libertarian Henry Herford, Jr. 0.9% 886
     Libertarian S.B.A. Zaitoon 0.1% 129
     Green Eliot Barron 0.5% 492
     Independent Tom Gibbs 0.3% 324
     Independent Peter Williams 0.3% 335
Total Votes 103,377
Source: Official results via Louisiana Secretary of State

Race background

Both Democrats and Republicans praised Alexander in light of his announcement.[37]

“While we did not always share Rep. Alexander’s views, he was one of a very few Congressional Republicans willing to put aside partisan posturing in order to craft solutions for the American People,” the Louisiana Democratic Party said in a release.[37]

Sources say that state senator Neil Riser (R) had notice that Alexander was contemplating retirement, and had been making phone calls to potential supporters and other potential candidates for several months prior to the announcement.[38]

Issues

Government shutdown

In a forum on October 8, 2013, at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, Marcus Hunter commented on the shutdown, saying it was a result of disagreements over the health-care reform law.[39]

“They’re tying something to the budget that has nothing to do with the budget. Sometimes you have to tell people, ‘This is not the time to have that fight,'” Hunter said.[39]

Jamie Mayo also spoke of the shutdown, calling it “ludicrous” and said government leaders should have worked out the problem before allowing the problem to escalate.[39]

“It’s all about the [Patient Protection and] Affordable Care Act. The American people are being held hostage because one party didn’t get its way,” Mayo said.[39]

Phillip Weatherly also discussed the issue: “Our politicians have put their job aside. They should have passed a budget. Let’s fix the root cause of this and work together to pass a budget."[39] He also added that an unbalanced budget was racking up billions in interest payments that could have otherwise been spent on the country.[39]

Controversy

FEC filing error on Riser filing documents

Neil Riser (R) said the Federal Election Commission incorrectly dated his candidacy documents, making it appear that he signed up for the 5th District election before Rodney Alexander announced he was stepping down.[40]

Several other candidates in the 5th District race 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 get together a campaign team and start accumulating funds ahead of the rest of the candidate pool.[40]

Riser, Alexander and Jindal's office have all denied the claims.

On August 23, 2013, Riser said the August 5 date was a mistake, a "clerical error" on the part of the FEC. He said he and his team sent the documents via FedEx on August 9, three days after Alexander's announcement and two days after Riser announced his intention to run.[40]

Public records officials at the FEC were staunch in their dating methods Friday, saying that "Aug. 5" was the date stamped on the FedEx envelope they received.[40] FEC press officer Judith Ingram said later that a mistake was possible but would not be fixed for at least 24 hours. "It's not unheard of and it's easy enough to fix. We don't get a lot of calls like this but we've certainly seen mistakes made on both ends," Ingram said.[40]

Riser said he was "very disappointed" in the accusations lobbed at him by his fellow 5th District candidates. He said the race should have been driven by the issues facing the state and Washington, and not the allegations.[40]

"It's time to get on with the race and talk about the issues that matter in the 5th Congressional District," Riser said.[40]

On August 27, 2013, FEC officials corrected the mistake on their website and confirmed Riser did in fact file his candidacy forms on August 9, 2013.[41] Regardless of the mistake, a handwritten "8/5/13" shipping date will not be removed from the PDF file of his forms, the official added.[41]

McAllister failed to electronically file campaign finance reports

In October 2013, McAllister’s campaign had not electronically filed any of the required campaign finance reports, citing the government shutdown for preventing the filing.[42] According to McAllister's campaign, hard copy forms were mailed to the FEC by the required deadlines, even though campaign finance law requires candidates who raise or spend $50,000 or more to file electronically.[42]

McAllister said that his campaign had spent about $400,000 as of October 22, 2013, with about $350,000 of that being loans to himself.[42]

Polls

All candidates
Poll Neil Riser (R) Jamie Mayo (D)Robert Johnson (D)Jay Morris (R)Marcus Hunter (D)Jeff Guerriero (R)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
JMC Enterprises
August 16, 2013
29%11%11%10%5%5%29%+/-3.6755
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org

Campaign donors

State Representative Jay Morris reported that he loaned $295,000 of his own money to his campaign account between July 1, 2013, and September 29, 2013.[43]

In the pre-primary period, state Representative Jay Morris led fundraising, having raised $566,000, which included a $295,000 loan to his campaign, and had $188,000 in cash on hand.[44] State senator Neil Riser followed close behind, having raised $561,000 and ended with $210,000 in cash on hand.[44]

During the pre-primary period, which ended on September 29, 2013, Riser reported having raised $51,550 from PACs and other committees, such as ERIC PAC -the leadership PAC of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the American Healthcare Association PAC, Citizens United Political Victory Fund, and others.[45]

The Republican Super PAC Inc. also reported that it spent $32,691 from September 23 to October 7 for mailers, voter data collection and a survey, as independent expenditures supporting Riser.

Clyde Holloway, who served in Congress from 1987 to 1993, reported he raised $245,500, including a $112,000 loan to his campaign. He reported $145,000 in cash on hand going into the primary.[44]

Weldon Russell raised $49,000, with $43,000 of it as a loan to his campaign, and ended the period with $4,500 cash on hand.[44] State representative Robert Johnson raised $122,000 and reported having $63,000 in cash on hand.[44] Jamie Mayo raised $17,000 and reported $15,500 in cash on hand in the pre-primary period.[44]

Endorsements

U.S. Sen. David Vitter said he would not endorse a candidate in the special election for the 5th District congressional seat.[46] Vitter said on August 16, 2013, that he often does not get involved in races that have “two or more significant Republicans.”[46]

Republican candidates

Vance McAllister

Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Clyde Holloway endorsed Vance McAllister in the general election race on November 4, 2013.[47]


Willie Robertson's November 2013 ad, "Duck Commander Willie Robertson reminds you to Vote Vance McAllister."

Reality television celebrity Willie Robertson endorsed McAllister on November 13, 2013.[48]

In the ad Robinson said, “Hey this is Willie Robertson, reminding you to get out Saturday, Nov. 16 and vote for my good buddy Vance McAllister. Let’s send somebody from the 5th District who speaks for us to help turn Washington around."[48]

Neil Riser

Less than 24 hours after the announcement from Alexander that he planned to retire, Rep. John Fleming announced his support for Neil Riser (R). “I’m going to support him. He’s got a strong conservative voting record,” Fleming said.[38] Riser also received endorsements from Reps. Charles Boustany and Steve Scalise.[49][50]

“I served with Neil in the state legislature and have admired his strong leadership when it comes to defending Louisiana’s conservative values, protecting our 2nd Amendment rights, cutting wasteful spending and working to strengthen our economy. I am confident Neil will bring those strong values and work ethic to Washington, and make an excellent congressman for Louisiana’s Fifth District. I am proud to endorse Neil Riser for Congress, and am asking all of my friends in the Fifth District to consider supporting him as well,” Scalise said in a statement on August 9, 2013.[51]

Riser also received endorsements from outgoing incumbent Rodney Alexander (R), House majority leader Eric Cantor (R) and state Senator Mike Walsworth (R) in August 2013.[52][53][54][55]

Cantor, along with Fleming, Scalise and Boustany hosted a fundraiser on for September 8, 2013, at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington.[56]

In October 2013, Riser picked up endorsements from FreedomWorks and the Tea Party of Louisiana.[57]

Democratic candidates

Jamie Mayo

Monroe lawyer Charles Kincade had originally expressed his intent to run as an “unabashed” liberal Democrat.[22] On August 16, 2013, Kincade said he opted out and instead endorsed Monroe mayor Jamie Mayo.[22]

Kincade said it was “logistically impossible” for someone from outside of politics to win in such a short timeframe. “Jindal and Alexander are trying to handpick the successor. It’s just a bad situation,” Kincade said.[22]

Campaign forums

Candidates who qualified to run for Louisiana's 5th Congressional District were invited to attend a luncheon meeting on August 26, 2013, in Alexandria, Louisiana. The meeting was sponsored by the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce.[58]

District history

Candidate Ballot Access
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2012

See also: Louisiana's 5th Congressional District elections, 2012

Alexander ran in the 2012 election for the U.S. House to represent Louisiana's 5th District. Alexander, the incumbent, defeated Clay Steven Grant (L) and Ron Caesar (I) in the November 6 blanket primary.[59][60] Louisiana does not hold a primary before the November 6 general election. If candidates do not receive a majority of the vote on that date, they go to a runoff, to be held on December 8.

U.S. House, Louisiana District 5 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngRodney Alexander Incumbent 77.8% 202,536
     Libertarian Ron Ceasar 14.4% 37,486
     None Clay Steven Grant 7.8% 20,194
Total Votes 260,216
Source: Louisiana Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"


2010 On November 2, 2010, Rodney Alexander won re-election to the United States House. He defeated Tom Gibbs, Jr. (I) in the general election.[61]

U.S. House, Louisiana District 5 General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngRodney Alexander incumbent 78.6% 122,033
     Independent Tom Gibbs, Jr. 21.4% 33,279
Total Votes 155,312

See also

External links

References

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  2. The News Star, "Special election set Oct. 19; qualifying this month," accessed August 8, 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Nola.com, "Rodney Alexander to join Jindal administration, departure from Congress will trigger special election," accessed August 8, 2013
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Roll Call, "Candidates Line Up for New Special Election | The Field #LA05," accessed August 8, 2013
  5. National Conference of State Legislatures Website, "State Primary Election Types," accessed January 6, 2014
  6. Fair Vote, "Congressional and Presidential Primaries: Open, Closed, Semi-Closed, and 'Top Two,'" accessed January 6, 2014
  7. Ballotpedia research conducted December 26, 2013 through January 3, 2014 researching and analyzing various state websites and codes.
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  10. The Advocate, "Monroe mayor to run for 5th Congressional District seat," accessed August 19, 2013
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  13. KNOE, "Another candidate plans to join 5th District race," accessed August 12, 2013
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 NOLA.com, "A closer look at those scrambling to enter Louisiana's 5th Congressional District race," accessed August 19, 2013
  15. NOLA.com, "Three more candidates jump into 5th District race," accessed August 21, 2013
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  36. The Town Talk, "Gallot won't seek 5th Congressional District seat," accessed August 19, 2013
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  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 39.3 39.4 39.5 The Town Talk, "5th District race: 3 candidates blast shutdown at UL-Monroe forum," accessed October 10, 2013
  40. 40.0 40.1 40.2 40.3 40.4 40.5 40.6 NOLA.com, "Louisiana Sen. Neil Riser says FEC made mistake in candidacy records," accessed August 28, 2013
  41. 41.0 41.1 [www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/08/fec_changes_filing_date_of_nei.html NOLA.com, "FEC changes filing date of Neil Riser's candidate documents," accessed August 28, 2013]
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 The News Star, "McAllister: Campaign finance report coming," accessed October 24, 2013
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  57. NOLA.com, "FreedomWorks, Ethics Board and Public Records: Capitol Digest for Friday, Oct. 25, 2013," accessed October 28, 2013
  58. The Town Talk, "Forum for 5th District candidates set for Aug. 26 in Alexandria," accessed August 19, 2013
  59. Louisiana Secretary of State, "Candidate List" accessed October 22,2012
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  61. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013