Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-La.) joined the host of Republican members of Congress who won’t seek re-election this year, announcing his impending retirement.
Abraham, 65, said in a statement on Wednesday that his third term in the House of Representatives would be his last.
Abraham said he announced his candidacy to represent the state’s 5th Congressional District six years ago because “our national defense had been weakened, our constitutional rights were being challenged, and our economy was in the tank.”
He and his wife, he said, “both feared the direction our country was headed.”
Now Abraham feels that the national economy is strong and noted that unemployment is the lowest it has 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,'” he told supporters.
Abraham said that President Donald Trump asked him in January to consider staying in Congress for another term but he said he decided when first elected that he’d only serve three terms.
Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District has only three candidates who have announced bids: Democrats Candy Christophe and Brody Pierrottie, and Republican Randall Scott Robinson. The district went for Trump in 2016 and typically elects Republicans. The three primary websites that track congressional races rate it as “solid Republican.”
Abraham won in 2014 over incumbent Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.). In 2018, Abraham won by over 80,000 votes over a Democratic candidate, Jessee Carlton Fleenor.
Abraham joins an exodus of Republicans from Congress, especially from the House. He’s the 23rd Republican representative to announce their retirements at the end of the current Congress, versus six Democrats.
Other members of the House are seeking other offices. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), for instance, is running the a U.S. Senate seat while Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is running for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Apart from the impending retirements, six Republican members of Congress left office early, including Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), who resigned in January after pleading guilty to a corruption charge. Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.) left office late last year after an investigation was opened to an affair she allegedly had with a staff member.