The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.
● LA-05: On Wednesday, Republican Rep. Ralph Abraham announced that he would retire in 2020 after serving three terms representing the 5th District in northeastern Louisiana. Abraham had long signaled he was thinking of not seeking re-election both before and after he lost the all-party primary for governor in 2019, but Republicans are all but assured of holding his seat after it backed Trump by a wide 63-34 margin according to Daily Kos Elections' calculations.Campaign Action
Abraham first won his seat in 2014 by defeating incumbent GOP Rep. Vance McAllister, who had won an upset in a 2013 special election but had quickly found himself embroiled in scandal after he was caught on security camera tape passionately making out with a staffer who was not his wife. Under pressure from then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, McAllister announced he would not run for re-election. After Cantor lost renomination, however, McAllister changed his mind, but he came in a distant fourth with just 11% while Abraham advanced to the runoff and prevailed.
Abraham's more recent attempt at higher office didn't go quite so well, though. After spending much of the race as the frontrunner on the Republican side to take on Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, Abraham was eventually outpaced by self-funding businessman Eddie Rispone, who poured over $10 million of his own money into the race while Abraham struggled to raise money and get his message out. Rispone emerged as the Republican to face Edwards in the runoff, edging out Abraham by 27-24 against Edwards' 47% in the primary. However, with some unhappy Abraham supporters likely sitting out the runoff or backing Edwards, the incumbent prevailed 51-49 in the second round.
Abraham was one of the few Republicans to make a term limit pledge during his initial run, promising to serve no more than three terms, and he's one of the even fewer Republicans to actually abide by such a pledge. The race to succeed him will likely see considerable interest by local Republicans, and races in Louisiana see all candidates run on a single Nov. 3 primary ballot, with the top-two finishers advancing to a Dec. 5 runoff regardless of party if no one takes a majority in November.
● AL-Sen: Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has launched two new ads ahead of next week's Republican primary. The first spot sees Sessions talking to the camera to say he's running for Senate to help Trump enact his agenda, claiming he needs a "warrior for truth." The second ad attacks former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville on immigration, playing a clip where he speaks favorably about letting immigrants come to the U.S and "become citizens." The narrator also hits Tuberville for living, voting, and paying taxes in Florida instead of the state he's wanting to represent.
● GA-Sen-B: The anti-tax Club for Growth, which is supporting GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler, has unveiled a new TV ad opposing Republican Rep. Doug Collins. The commercial hits Collins for supporting new taxes such as a "bed tax" on hospitals that supposedly cost $200 per patient and a state constitutional amendment raising the sales tax rate.
● FL-19: One candidate in the crowded Republican primary whom we haven't yet mentioned is urologist William Figlesthaler, who joined the race last fall. Figlesthaler raised $126,000 and self-funded a sizable $410,000 in the fourth quarter, and his $507,000 in cash-on-hand was the most of any candidate in the Republican primary. Meanwhile, state House Majority Leader Dane Eagle raised the most from donors, taking in $422,000 and holding $375,000 on-hand at the start of the year. Also in the six-figures club was businessman Ford O'Connell, who raised $110,000, self-funded $200,000, and held $307,000 in the bank at the end of the quarter.
Further behind was Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson, who raised $68,000 and held $67,000 on-hand, while state Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen raised just $32,000 and had $30,000 in the bank. Bringing up the rear among donors was former Minnesota state House Minority Whip Dan Severson, who raised only $4,000 but self-funded $100,000 to finish with $103,000 on-hand. Finally, state Rep. Byron Donalds did not file a fourth quarter report since he only made his campaign official in January.
● GA-07: Former Home Depot executive Lynne Homrich's latest Republican primary ad reaches new depths of Trump sycophancy with a tagline saying she "hates politics, loves Trump." Homrich plays clips of national Democrats such as Bernie Sanders and Nancy Pelosi, and Homrich says she'll oppose them and fight for conservative values and Trump's agenda.
● Special Elections: Here's a recap of Tuesday's three special elections.
KY-HD-67: Democrat Rachel Roberts defeated Republican Mary Jo Wedding 64-36 to hold this suburban Cincinnati seat for her party. Roberts outperformed Hillary Clinton's 49-44 loss in this district by a wide margin and even slightly improved on Andy Beshear's 61-36 win here in last year's gubernatorial election.
KY-HD-99: Republican Richard White defeated Democrat Bill Redwine 56-44 to flip this rural eastern Kentucky to the GOP. Democrats had hoped to hang onto this ancestrally blue seat that backed Beshear 50-48. However, the district's sharp rightward drift at the presidential level (Donald Trump was victorious here 68-28) was ultimately too much for Democrats to overcome.
This chamber is now at full strength, and Republicans have a 62-38 advantage.
PA-HD-190: Democrat Roni Green turned back Republican Wanda Logan 86-14 to hold this seat for her party. While Logan's 14% is unusually strong for a GOP candidate in a district Clinton won 96-3, Logan was not a traditional Republican. She ran for this seat in every election from 2012-2018, each time as a Democrat.
Republicans remain in control of this chamber 107-93, with three other seats vacant.