Duck Commander releases ad for Dasher _lowres

Zach Dasher

The day after Congressman Vance McAllister released a campaign commercial that hinted at his scandal, opponent Zach Dasher came out Tuesday with radio spot featuring his uncle, who leads the “Duck Dynasty” clan.

“He has been officially and thoroughly vetted by the Robertson clan,” Duck Commander Phil Robertson said of Dasher, who is the son of his sister. Robertson is the patriarch of the West Monroe family featured in the cable network reality television series.

During the 30-second spot, Robertson and his wife, Kay, say repeatedly that they’re voting for Dasher in the Nov. 4 election, with Kay reminding her husband to use Dasher’s full name. Eight candidates are vying to replace McAllister, R-Swartz. A Dec. 6 runoff is scheduled between the top two vote getters if no one candidate wins a majority in the primary.

McAllister surprised many strategists and opponents Monday by releasing a television commercial featuring his wife, Kelly, describing how blessed she is for having a brave husband “owns up to his mistakes.” The pair never directly address the infidelity that turned McAllister’s easy re-election bid into a close-run campaign.

Dasher’s spot will be run on radio stations across the 5th District’s 24 parishes, Ryan Cross, Dasher’s spokesman, said Tuesday. The large and rural district covers the northeast and central parts of the state, plus the areas adjacent to the Mississippi border in the Florida parishes.

The Robertsons, who famously end each program praying, were said by political pundits to be responsible for the election of McAllister, a first-time candidate who trumpeted his beliefs in Christian family values.

In the 2013 election, Phil Robertson attended fundraisers for McAllister before the primary election. After McAllister narrowly found a place in the runoff, members of the Robertson family cut commercials for his candidacy.

McAllister beat state Sen. Neil Riser, an established politician with the support of the GOP hierarchy, with 60 percent of the vote.

In January, McAllister brought the heavily bearded Willie Robertson, Phil’s son and the chief executive officer of the family company, to the State of the Union address in January. Wearing his trademark American flag headband, Robertson and McAllister took photos with a number of Republican heavyweights, such as Paul Ryan, the GOP 2012 vice presidential nominee.

That was then.

Since McAllister was caught on security camera images, leaked in April, kissing a woman who is not his wife, the Robertson family has been silent about McAllister.

Dasher announced his candidacy over the summer.

The Robertsons and their employees have donated about $60,000 to Dasher’s campaign. Dasher, 36, is running for political office as a conservative Christian. He sells biogenetic pharmaceuticals and is an ordained minister in the Church of Christ.

McAllister also faces Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo, a Democrat, as well as Republicans Dr. Ralph Lee Abraham, of Archibald; Harris Brown, a Monroe businessman; Public Service Commissioner Clyde Holloway, of Forest Hill; Ed Tarpley, an attorney from Alexandria; in addition to Green Party candidate Eliot S. Barron, of New Orleans; and Charles Saucier, a Libertarian from Ponchatoula.

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