Calhoun businessman Zach Dasher, a cousin of Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson, announced Monday he will run for Congress in Louisiana’s 5th District.
The seat is currently held by embattled GOP Rep. Vance McAllister, who won the district in a special election last November – largely thanks to the local reality television superstar Willie Robertson’s support.
Zach Dasher said he has the full support of the Robertson family in a Monday morning interview with Louisiana radio show host Moon Griffon.
Willie Robertson’s cousin Zach Dasher announced he will run for Congress in Louisiana’s 5th District
The news comes as a blow for Vance McAllister, who has waffled in recent weeks about whether he’s running for re-election. Earlier this year, Vance McAllister was caught on video kissing a staffer in his district office – an incident that gave him the title “kissing congressman”.
State Sen. Neil Riser, whom Vance McAllister defeated in the special election runoff for the seat, also announced on Monday that he will not run for the seat.
“I won’t be running in the 5th Congressional District this fall,” Neil Riser told LA Politics on Monday.
“I’m not ruling anything else out in the future, but I’m not going to be a part of this race in the fall.”
Candidates have until August 22 to file the necessary paperwork to run in Louisiana. In the state, all candidates who qualify run on the same ballot in November. If no candidate garners at least 50% of the vote, the race proceeds to a December runoff.
Louisiana’s 5th District is heavily Republican territory. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried the district with 61% in 2012.
Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson will join Louisiana Rep. Vance McAllister during the State of the Union address on Tuesday.
Willie Robertson had endorsed Vance McAllister during his Congressional bid.
The CEO of Duck Commander appeared in a TV ad advising voters to “send somebody from the 5th District who speaks for us to help turn Washington around”.
Vance McAllister, a wealthy Louisiana businessman, was elected in November.
Willie Robertson will join Louisiana Rep. Vance McAllister during the State of the Union address
He had also scored an endorsement from Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson, whose anti-gay remarks earned him a short-lived suspension from the A&E show.
“I am proud to have my close friend, constituent and small business owner, Willie Robertson, attend tonight’s State of the Union Address as my special guest,” Vance McAllister said in a statement about his choice of guest for his first State of the Union.
“Willie is thankful for this opportunity and honored to attend. I look forward to the two of us representing the Fifth District in DC this evening and bringing some diversity to our nation’s capitol.”
Newly elected Louisiana Congressman Vance McAllister said the endorsement by the Duck Dynasty fame might have given him a leg up in winning Saturday’s runoff for an open congressional seat.
“When Willie and Jep and Jase did what they did for me, I’m sure it didn’t hurt at all,” Republican Vance McAllister told Fox & Friends Monday, referring to the endorsements he received from the folks on the popular TV reality show.
Vance McAllister beat fellow Republican state Senator Neil Riser in a runoff election for the seat in the state’s 5th Congressional District. Both self-described conservatives, Riser ran on the endorsement of the Tea Party of Louisiana.
Phil Robertson endorsed Vance McAllister, a businessman and political newcomer, because he had “the least political experience,” Raw Story reports.
Vance McAllister said Willie Robertson stopped by to congratulate him after the win, giving him a “big old bear hug.”
Jep Robertson endorsement helped Vance McAllister to win Louisiana Congress seat
“We had just wrapped up with all my TV interviews and everything, and I was talking to some friends and family. And, next thing I hear is, <<Willie is here.>> And, I turned around and, oh, my goodness, it’s like Grizzly Adams walking up behind you,” Vance McAllister said.
“He told me he was proud of me. And, I told him, <<Well, boy, I appreciate it>>. Phil, Jase, and Willie and Jep, and even Si, they are amazing, true Christians,” Vance McAllister added.
“And, you know, what y’all see on TV, and I’ve known them before any of this all came about, they are some wonderful people.”
Vance McAllister also said the barrage of negative campaign ads against him also contributed to his win.
“It was 100 percent negative campaign against 100 percent positive campaign. And, I stayed true to my faith and maintained my integrity,” he said.