Saturday's contest was a special election runoff between two Republicans, businessman Vance McAllister and State Sen. Neil Riser. Riser not only had the support of the GOP establishment in both Lousiana and D.C., but also had the backing of tea-party friendly Club for Growth. McAllister, meanwhile, was a political newcomer who spent his own money on ads, won the support of the cast of A&E's Duck Dynasty, and ran to Riser's left:
While some thought the all-Republican runoff would be marked by each candidate running to the far right of every issue, McAllister took leave of the usual party line during a debate last week by coming out in support of optional Medicaid expansion offered under the Affordable Care Act.Riser pounced on McAllister's support for Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, saying that a vote for McAllister was a vote for Obamacare, and releasing the ad at the top of this post. But instead of riding McAllister's position to victory, Riser lost. In fact, he got crushed, losing by 20 points.
McAllister said he disagreed with Gov. Bobby Jindal's decision not to accept the expansion because of the economic make-up of the 5th District.
There was more to this race than Obamacare, but that's precisely the point: Even in a +23 Romney district, a Republican congressional candidate who supported elements of Obamacare defeated a hardline anti-Obamacare Republican backed by both the establishment and tea party wings of the GOP.
And that's very bad news for Republicans who believe Obamacare is the cure for all their political problems.