WASHINGTON -- Rookie Vance McAllister says he’s never visited Washington, D.C., but now he has a job in the nation’s capital.
McAllister upset state Sen. Neil Riser, R-Columbia, by winning 59 percent of the vote in the all-GOP runoff for the 5th congressional district seat in much of northern and central Louisiana.
McAllister had 54,351 votes or 60 percent of those counted in the runoff. Riser had 36,765 votes or 40 percent of those counted.
The all Republican runoff decides who will replace U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman, who resigned in September midway through his term, which ends next year.
The Secretary of State’s Office had counted ballots in 976 of 981 precincts.
Riser polled well in the rural portions of the 24 parish 5th Congressional District. But McAllister more than doubled Riser’s vote totals in the more populated Ouachita and Rapides parishes.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler expected a low turn out of about 18 percent of the 481,523 registered voters would cast ballots Saturday. Polling places reported light turnouts around the state on the first day of deer hunting season for hunters using guns for most areas in the 5th district.
Running as Christian conservative and a political outsider, McAllister rode the endorsements of “Duck Dynasty” stars Phil and Willie Robertson to surge out of obscurity and into a seat in Congress.
University of Louisiana at Monroe political scientist Joshua Stockley said McAllister once again surprised everyone with his strong showing.
“He proved every single pundit wrong,” Stockley said. “Not only did he win, he obliterated the frontrunner.”
McAllister has a “great recipe for victory” that included his personal wealth to self-fund most of his campaign, the backlash against the political establishment, the support of “Duck Dynasty” stars and the quirks of Louisiana’s open primary election.