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Rodney Alexander resigns as head of the state VA

A switcheroo from a pol with a history of switcheroos



  In August 2013, Rodney Alexander, U.S. House member from Louisiana's 5th District, surprised pols in Washington D.C. and back home by announcing he would step down from Congress — just one day after he'd said he would run for reelection in 2014. Alexander's plans seemed to be up in the air briefly until he announced he would be joining Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration as director of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

  On June 3, Alexander pulled another surprise, resigning as head of the state VA after only eight months on the job. He was replaced immediately by David LaCerte, who was serving as the department's deputy secretary.

  Alexander has a history of switcheroos. In the 2004 elections, he changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican in the final moments of qualifying, ensuring he wouldn't have a major Democratic challenger that year.

  The 5th District seat is the one now held by U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister, R-Swartz, the dark horse candidate who won a special election in an upset over state Sen. Neil Riser, R-Columbia, last year. After McAllister was caught on camera kissing a married staffer, he said he would not run for reelection in November.

  The filing deadline for McAllister's seat is in August, and naturally there was speculation that Alexander might be interested in reclaiming his old job. But one day after Alexander stepped down from the VA, lobbyist Paul Rainwater told The Advocate that Alexander would be joining his staff. Rainwater pulled a surprise of his own when he left his job in February as Jindal's chief of staff and went into lobbying.

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