Gov. Bobby Jindal and the Louisiana Republican Party have asked new — and newly scandal-plagued — U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister to resign.
McAllister, the family-values Christian conservative who was caught on video kissing an aide, hasn’t shown any sign of heeding those calls. But what if he does? Then what?
Well, that’s up to Jindal, who’s got two options, both of which come with significant downsides.
Senate vacancies are filled by gubernatorial appointment, but when a House member leaves in mid-term, the next step is a special election. That, you’ll recall, is how McAllister won his seat in the first place, after U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander quit to become Jindal’s secretary of veterans affairs.
But under state law, it’s up to the governor to choose the election date. Jindal could pick the next regularly scheduled election, which isn’t until Nov. 4, the same day as the regular Congressional contests. That, though, would leave the 5th District without representation for as much as seven months, depending on when McAllister makes it official.
Jindal could also pick a date that’s not on the regular election calendar. But that would put the state on the hook for the cost of an extra election, roughly $1.2 million. Not exactly the fiscally conservative approach.
If a special election were to be held in November, the new representative could be sworn in right away and participate in votes during the a lame duck session. Other newly elected members wouldn’t take office until the new term in January.
So far, all such speculation is moot. McAllister has said that he plans to offer himself up to voters this fall, even if the field promises to be far larger and more competitive. In the meantime, according to an AP report, he remains in seclusion with his wife and family for the remainder of the Easter recess.