Forget the Clintons and the Bushes; there’s a new dynasty diving into politics.
Zach Dasher, a nephew of “Duck Dynasty” TV star Phil Robertson, has announced he’s running for Congress in Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District.
Dasher, a conservative Republican who unapologetically emphasizes religion over politics, may end up running against incumbent Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La., whose recent dalliance with a married staffer has earned him the nickname the “kissing congressman.”
Until the scandal, members of the Dynasty family were high-profile McAllister supporters. Indeed, Dasher’s cousin Willie Robertson was McAllister’s guest of honor at the president’s State of the Union address earlier this year.
It’s unclear whether McAllister will run for re-election against Dasher, a sales specialist who’s on sabbatical from a biotech company. Regardless, Dasher, 36, says, the “Dynasty” family is “110 percent” behind his campaign.
ABC News recently spoke to Dasher, a married father of four, about his family’s controversial personalities, their relationship with McAllister and his vision for the nation. The following is a Q&A, edited for brevity.
How did the “Duck Dynasty” crew react to your decision to run for Congress?
The family is 110 percent supportive of my decision to run. And it’s not because I’m family, rather it’s because they know I am who I say I am. They know my philosophy on freedom and they agree with it. Phil and Al both said, “we’ve vetted this one for 36 years.”
You’ve said it yourself: your family is not so big on “political correctness.” How is that going to play out in your campaign?
I would say that political correctness has become the enemy because it shut down the intellectual discussion. It’s the intolerance of tolerance. And I’m going to attempt in every way to avoid being politically correct and just tell the truth.
Recently, your uncle got into hot water over a controversial comment about homosexuality. What’s your stance on that issue? Are you going to make that a part of your campaign?
Which uncle was it? [Laughs.] I’m just playing with you. He created quite the controversy! You know, I believe in traditional marriage and that is going to be part of my platform and I’ll leave it at that.
Your family has long been supportive of Vance McAllister, the man who currently represents Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District. Is your cousin going to find himself in an awkward position if the two of you end up competing for the seat?
There’s no awkwardness at all. The family is behind my message. And we’re solely focused on my campaign right now. I think it was Eleanor Roosevelt who said that great minds discuss great ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people. So obviously we want to be great minds, and we’re not going to make this about people, we’re going to make this about ideas.
This is your first foray into politics. What made you jump in now?
Five years ago, I didn’t see an opportunity or window of opportunity to get into this type of venture. But here recently, obviously with the family name and being able to get my message out there, I saw an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.
According to your press release, your campaign is going to be very faith-centric. Why do you think we need more God in Washington?
Because if there is no God, who is the determiner of human rights and the value of human life? If there is no god, then man is the determiner of all things. Now which man is that? Well it happens to be the one with the biggest stick, which usually ends up being government because they have tanks and air force and they have an army. So I think it’s scary if we put the power of determining human rights in the hands of the ruling class. So we need to return to the natural law.
You have a background in the pharmaceutical industry. Do you think your history gives you unique insight into the Affordable Care Act?
Well, first let me say that I’m on an unpaid leave right now from the pharmaceutical company. My experience day-to-day in doctors’ offices, obviously, does give me a unique perspective on the problems of health care. But the solution to health care is not to socialize it. What we need to do is we need to introduce more market principles in there to allow free trade, to allow people to purchase insurance over state lines. These are market based solutions that will work.
You also say that you’re a “strong supporter” of the Second Amendment. Any thoughts on the best way to prevent these horrifying mass shootings?
We need people to love one another. And you can’t legislate that type of morality. When you remove God from your country, evil things happen. I think politics is downstream of culture. This is a cultural problem. You’re not going to be able to fix that legislatively. I think that it would be a good idea to arm teachers. I think it would be a good idea to allow people to protect themselves. I don’t think that it’s a good idea to have people that are unarmed sitting ducks, waiting for someone to come in and shoot their schools up. I think that’s ridiculous. I mean, look, guns don’t kill people, people kill people.
Nearly 9 million people watch your uncle’s show. That’s a lot of potential donors. Think you’ll get a shout out on the show?
Look, if we can get all of them to move to the 5th district to vote for me, I think we can win this thing! I think if people agree with my platform and they want to participate, obviously we appreciate that. But look, I don’t think this campaign is about how much money I raise. I think this campaign should be about the ideas that we’re proposing. And, hopefully, the people of the 5th district will get behind that because they see someone who represents their views, someone who speaks on behalf of them.