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POLITICS: PennAve

Money problems could also hurt kissing congressman's re-election bid

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Politics,Louisiana,Campaign Finance,2014 Elections,Campaigns,PennAve,Rebecca Berg,Vance McAllister,Scandals

It goes without saying that Rep. Vance McAllister will not have an easy path to re-election.

McAllister, the Louisiana Republican who reversed an earlier decision when he announced this week that he will seek a full term in Congress, won his seat in a competitive special election last year -- but he has become best known for having been caught on camera kissing an aide. McAllister is married; the aide has since been fired.

But the residual angst from that scandal, which tarnished McAllister's family values brand, might be only one of the serious challenges McAllister faces.

Another potential hurdle: Money.

As of mid-April, the end of the most recent campaign-finance">fundraising quarter, McAllister had just $8,425 in the bank -- and owed another $200,000, roughly, to a roster of consultants and lawyers who performed services on behalf of his campaign. In addition, McAllister's campaign logged $395,000 in outstanding loans from McAllister himself.

Squaring those debts won't be easy. During his special election, McAllister brought in slightly more than $500,000 in contributions for the entire race, not including his own loans. And, although much was made during the contest of McAllister's personal wealth — he is part owner of a handful of companies that earned him millions of dollars last year, according to McAllister's financial disclosure to Congress — it's unclear how much of McAllister's money is liquid: Indeed, McAllister took out a personal loan of between $250,000 and $500,000 in October, at the same time he was loaning money to his own campaign.

It's uncertain whether McAllister would be able to match his fundraising totals from his last race. In addition to the kissing scandal, McAllister has lost the support of the "Duck Dynasty" clan, who backed him publicly during his special election and brought national attention to the race.

McAllister's chief of staff did not respond to a request for comment on his campaign's finances.

When McAllister announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election, he cited his public scandal as the chief reason behind his decision.

"I’ve failed those I care most about and let down the people who elected me to represent them," McAllister said in late April. "I take full responsibility for this personal failure, and I’m truly sorry for what I’ve done."

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Author:

Rebecca Berg

Political Correspondent
The Washington Examiner

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