A press release from Ralph Abraham today confirms something that’s been rumored for a while…
Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D., R-Alto, announced on Wednesday his retirement from the U.S. House of Representatives at the end of the 116th Congress.
Today, I am officially announcing my retirement from Congress following the completion of my current third term, and I will not seek re-election in 2020.
When I announced my candidacy for this seat six years ago, I did so with the strongest of convictions. Our national defense had been weakened, our constitutional rights were being challenged, and our economy was in the tank. Simply put — Dianne and I both feared the direction our country was headed. Here at home, the people who live in Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District are some of the finest citizens of this country, and we both felt that changes in Washington needed to happen. That’s why we chose to stand up and work towards doing something about it. Our district is filled with honest, hard-working, kind, and sincere people. It is because of this, and because of you, that I sought public office for the first time in my life, when I asked for your support to serve as your Member of Congress.
Today, six years later, our national economy is strong, and unemployment is the lowest it’s been in decades. Our military is stronger now than it’s been in decades, and consumer confidence is on the rise. As I look back over these three terms in Congress, despite significant partisan opposition, I’ve been proud to work for you in helping to “turn-the-ship-around.”
This past January, as I traveled on Air Force One to the National Championship game with President Trump, I was humbled when he asked that I consider staying in Congress for another term. I thanked him for his leadership and encouragement, and was honest in my reply. The decision to serve only three terms as a Member of the House is one that I made six years ago, but I very much look forward to supporting the President’s agenda for the remainder of my tenure in Congress and in other capacities moving forward. I have sought to serve you honorably in Congress, as your “citizen congressman,” and the commitment I made as a candidate in 2014 will be kept.
In the meantime, I look forward to serving you through the remainder of my term and am forever grateful to the people of Louisiana for entrusting me with their representation in the United States House of Representatives.
Ralph “Doc” Abraham, M.D.
Abraham had said all along that three terms in the House was all he wanted, and not everybody believed him. It became pretty clear when he ran for governor last year he was serious about a three-term limit and still there were people who didn’t believe him.
They can believe it now.
Expect the field to build pretty quickly in the Fifth District, which is going to be the one on the chopping block next year during redistricting. The Democrats are going to do everything they can to turn that seat into either a majority-minority seat (which is going to be extremely difficult based on the way the population is distributed) or at least a Democrat-winnable seat. So whoever wins this year had better be ready to go to war to keep his or her job. The new 5th District congressman will literally be in a fight for his or her political life immediately after getting elected.
Meaning it’s a lousy time to run for that seat, and it’s exceptionally likely the field will be humongous.
Abraham’s chief of staff Luke Letlow, a smart political operative who’s been a fixture in 5th District politics for quite some time, has also been talked about as a candidate, and Letlow has, word has it, done a lot of prep-work for the day Abraham moves on. That day has arrived, so don’t be surprised when Letlow makes an announcement.
Another Republican who’s already said he’s in is Scotty Robinson, a police juror from Ouachita Parish.
We could throw out names all day, and we wouldn’t be surprised to be right on a whole lot of them. This is likely to be a complete bloodbath of a race without a true frontrunner from the start.
Bloodbath races in the 5th District don’t have a great track record of producing great congressmen. That was how we got the Vance McAllister mess, after all.
But seeing as though Bill Cassidy is going to walk back in as the state’s senior Senator this fall and none of the other congressional incumbents have even the slightest chance of getting beat, thanks to Doc Abraham for opening up at least one potentially-interesting political race in Louisiana.