WASHINGTON — Democratic Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo said Tuesday that he is “strongly supporting” Republican businessman Vance McAllister in the all-GOP runoff for the vacant congressional 5th District seat.
Mayo, who finished third in the Oct. 12 primary election, said he is endorsing McAllister because he is the candidate willing to work across party lines and fight to improve the district, which is “one of the poorest” in the nation.
State Sen. Neil Riser, R-Columbia, finished first in the primary with 32 percent of the votes cast, compared with nearly 18 percent for McAllister and almost 15 percent for Mayo out of a 14-candidate field.
Mayo said he believes Riser would be an obstructionist and “be part of the problem in Washington.”
“He (McAllister) has the ability to relate to all people within the district, which includes people of different party lines and races … people of all walks of life. … That makes him best suited to represent the entire district and not just a portion of it,” Mayo said.
For his part, Riser has said his record in the Louisiana Legislature proves he can work with Democrats to accomplish goals.
The redrawn 5th Congressional District is the state’s poorest, most rural and by far the largest geographically, stretching into 24 parishes from Monroe down to Alexandria and into the Florida parishes, which includes north Baton Rouge suburban and bedroom communities in the Feliciana parishes.
Mayo said he is willing to be as active or inactive in the campaign as McAllister would like leading up to the Nov. 16 runoff election.
The endorsement has the potential to increase McAllister’s standing with Democratic and African-American voters.
McAllister, a political newcomer, is a native of Oak Grove, but he works out of Monroe and lives nearby in Swartz.
McAllister also has the celebrity endorsement of “Duck Dynasty” television star Phil Robertson.
Riser has the support of the former congressman who left the seat open, Rodney Alexander, R-Quitman, for a cabinet job in Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration. Riser also is backed by U.S. Reps. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson; Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette; and John Fleming, R-Minden, as well as the Tea Party of Louisiana and the tea party-affiliated FreedomWorks organization.
Former congressman and current Public Service Commissioner Clyde Holloway, of Forest Hill, who finished fourth in the congressional primary, said he has not yet decided whether he will make an endorsement in the runoff.
State Rep. Robert Johnson, D-Marksville, who finished fifth, said he is not planning to endorse anyone.
Mark Ballard of the Capitol news bureau contributed to this report.