There was an upset win in the runoff to fill the vacant seat in Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District last night. Jindal-backed favorite and party regular state Sen. Neil Riser (R) was defeated by newcomer Vance McAllister (R). In national political terms this sounds like a bit of a yawner since this was a run-off between two Republicans. But there’s a big element of the result that runs counter to the current political narrative on ‘Obamacare’.
Though both candidates oppose ‘Obamacare’, during a debate a couple weeks ago, McAllister said he supported opting into Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion provision, something Gov. Jindal and Riser have stoutly opposed. “I think we have to expand Medicaid,” said McAllister in response to the debate’s first question. “One in five people in our district is uninsured, which is among the highest rates in the nation.”
Not surprisingly, Riser’s campaign hit McAllister hard on the issue, portraying him as a ‘soft’ on Obamacare. And yet McAllister won by a big margin.
Now there are other issues at play possibly – general anti-insider sentiment, McAllister’s endorsement by a home town reality TV star.
It was also a general election run-off. So Democrats were voting too. And this is one of the poorest districts in the country with one of the highest rates of people without insurance.
With all that said though, Riser hit McAllister hard as a crypto-supporter of Obamacare and this was seen going into last night’s vote as the defining issue in the race. And McAllister won handily.