Riser claims FEC mistaken

State Sen. Neil Riser, who is running for the 5th congressional district seat, claimed Friday that federal elections officials mistakenly entered his official financial documents a day before U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander announced he would retire.

“There’s a clerical error,” Riser, R-Columbia, said Friday night. “They’re going to correct it on Monday.”

Riser said he filled out the paperwork on Aug. 8, sent it overnight to the Federal Election Commission on Aug. 9, a Friday, and it was received in Washington, D.C., on the following Monday, Aug. 12.

His campaign provided the FedEx receipt with tracking numbers to show that the packet was delivered at the FEC on Aug. 12.

A handwritten note on the filings showed the documents were sent on Aug. 5.

The 66-year-old Alexander, R-Quitman, announced Aug. 6 that he would not seek re-election in 2014, citing congressional gridlock and “partisan posturing.” The next day, Alexander accepted a job in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s Cabinet overseeing veterans’ affairs.

Riser almost immediately declared his candidacy, launched a campaign website and received the endorsements of U.S. Reps. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette; Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson; and John Fleming, R-Minden.

Riser also has hired Jindal’s chief political consultant, Timmy Teepell, and the OnMessage Inc. political consulting firm based in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, Teepell confirmed.

Critics, including opponents for the congressional seat, allege Alexander and Jindal coordinated to give Riser every advantage in the Oct. 19 open primary special election.

But when congressional qualifying ended Wednesday, 14 candidates had signed up to run, despite the short campaign.

Republican candidates include Riser, state Rep. Jay Morris, of Monroe; state Public Service Commissioner Clyde Holloway, of Forest Hill; Monroe businessman Vance McAllister; and Calhoun resident Phillip “Blake” Weatherly.

The Democrats include state Rep. Marcus Hunter, of Monroe; state Rep. Robert Johnson, of Marksville; Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo; and former state Rep. R. Weldon Russell III, of Amite.

Baton Rouge underwriter S.B.A. Zaitoon and Delhi resident Henry Herford Jr. are running as Libertarians.

New Orleans real estate agent Eliot Barron is a member of the Green Party.

Fairbanks oil and gas landman Tom Gibbs and Lettsworth resident Peter Williams have no party affiliation.

The 5th District is one of the poorest congressional districts in the nation. It covers all or part of 24 parishes across northeastern Louisiana, through much of central Louisiana, across the northern Baton Rouge metro area — though not East Baton Rouge Parish itself — along the state line with Mississippi through the Florida Parishes to Washington Parish.