Georgia

At the Races: Jonesing for Another Special Election Yet?
Doug Jones pulled off an upset in Alabama, giving Democrats hope for 2018 wave

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Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races by subscribing to this weekly newsletter here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget BowmanThis week … A Democrat won in deep-red Alabama, Minnesota’s getting a new female senator and another Texas Republican isn’t coming back in 2019.

Holding on: We’ll get back to Alabama in a second, but first ... embattled Texas Rep. Blake Farenthold is retiring, GOP sources confirmed Thursday. But he says he’s not going anywhere yet. The four-term Republican will serve out the remainder of his term, which means an ethics probe into allegations of his misconduct will continue. Some of his fellow Texas members were already ready to show him the door. Just last night, Roger Williams endorsed one of Farenthold’s primary challengers. The filing deadline for Texas congressional races was Monday.

Opinion: Trump’s Alabama Attitude Adjustment
Even voters in the Deep South are figuring out who’s behind the bile

Alabama Democrat Doug Jones celebrates his victory over Judge Roy Moore. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“Because something is happening here But you don’t know what it is Do you, Mister Jones?”

That 1965 Bob Dylan lyric qualifies as half right. Doug Jones certainly figured it out. After all, Jones is now the first mainstream Democrat to be elected to the Senate from Alabama since New Dealer Lister Hill.

Roy Who? Trump, GOP Quickly Pivot From Alabama to Taxes
Democrats characterize Alabama result as repudiation of president

Republican Roy Moore rides his horse across a field on his way to vote at the Gallant Volunteer Fire Department in Gallant, Ala., on Tuesday. Moore lost to Democrat Doug Jones in Tuesday’s Senate special election in Alabama. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers tried Wednesday to pin blame for Roy Moore’s special Alabama Senate race loss on the controversial former judge, but Democrats contend the president owns the bruising defeat after his full-throated endorsement. 

At the White House, the message was all about a GOP tax overhaul bill following Democrat Doug Jones’ stunning upset win in a state that had not put a member of that party in the Senate since 1992. On Capitol Hill, Republican members admitted relief that Moore would not be bringing his sexual misconduct allegations to Washington — and they asserted neither Trump nor the GOP were damaged by the Alabama race, despite the embrace of Moore by Trump and the Republican National Committee.

Terri Sewell Is Getting Some Help
With Doug Jones’ election, she is no longer only Democrat in Ala. delegation

Rep. Terri A. Sewell worked to get national Democrats involved in the Alabama Senate race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — When Rep. Terri A. Sewell joined Doug Jones on the campaign trail in Alabama, she would often say she needed help in Washington, D.C., as the lone Democrat in the delegation.

Standing onstage here with Jones as he celebrated his historic win over Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race Tuesday night, Sewell interjected at one point, yelling, “Help is on the way!”

Election Day in Alabama in Pictures
Dec. 12 as captured by Roll Call photographer Bill Clark

Alabama Democrat Doug Jones celebrates his victory over Republican candidate Roy Moore at the Sheraton in Birmingham, Alabama, on Tuesday. Jones faced off against former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore in a special election for Attorney General Jeff Sessions' Senate seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats in Alabama celebrated after former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones pulled off a stunning upset victory and became the first Democrat elected in the state in more than 20 years.

Moore was a heavy favorite in the solidly red state, but as allegations of improper contact with under-age girls swirled around him, Jones crept up in the polls, pulling ahead in some, as Election Day neared.

A Huge Congressional Settlement Involving Sexual Harassment — And Hardly Anyone Knew
Lawmakers on Helsinki Commission blindsided by report of $220K payout

Florida Rep. Alcee L. Hastings has denied allegations of sexual misconduct that led to a $220,000 payment to a former congressional staffer. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The $220,000 paid to former staffer Winsome Packer in 2014 is by far the largest known settlement involving Congress and accusations of sexual harassment in recent years.

But few, if any, of the lawmakers who served on the congressional commission where Packer worked seem to have been informed about it until the sum was reported by Roll Call on Friday.  

Take Five: Karen Handel
‘One of the greatest moments ever’ was when Donny Osmond called her about Mitt Romney

Rep. Karen Handel, R-Ga., says there’s a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde syndrome in Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Freshman Rep. Karen Handel, 55, a Georgia Republican, talks about her friendship with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, her intense race for the House and her love of football. 

Q: What has surprised you so far about Congress?

With Tax Deal in the Works, Questions Turn to Timing
Deal could be announced as early as Tuesday, with votes next week

Capitol Hill was relatively calm Tuesday morning, as Washington braced for the results of the Alabama Senate election and timing on a vote on tax overhaul and spending is in flux. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Capitol Hill was relatively calm Tuesday morning, even as the timing on two big-ticket items — voting on a tax overhaul package and what to do about year-end spending questions — hung in the air unresolved and the nation remained fixated on Alabama’s special Senate election, where voting is underway.

House Republicans meeting as a conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters said there was no specific timeline for voting on the tax package, as the formal conference committee is set to meet, perhaps for the only time, Wednesday.

Jones Brings in Cavalry to Boost Black Turnout in Alabama Senate Race
Alabama Senate candidate is holding events over the weekend

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., right, takes selfie photos with Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., and Democratic candidate for Senate Doug Jones at the end of a campaign rally for Jones in Montgomery, Ala. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. —  Doug Jones has largely distanced himself from national Democrats in his campaign for Senate in deep-red Alabama. But three days out from Election Day, he’s brought in some national figures to boost turnout from a key voting bloc — African-American voters. 

“I’m here to try and help some folk get woke!” New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker told a crowd of roughly 200 at a rally in Montgomery at Alabama State University.

Roy Moore Accuser Says She Added Date and Location to Yearbook Note
Moore campaign appears to feel vindicated by admission

GOP candidate for U.S. Senate Roy Moore has been dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct throughout the latter portion of his campaign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Beverly Young Nelson, one of the women to have levied sexual misconduct allegations against Roy Moore, said she added the date and location below a now-infamous yearbook inscription she has attributed to the Alabama Senate candidate.

Nelson and her attorney, Gloria Allred, have offered the yearbook note as proof Moore sought an inappropriate relationship with her when Nelson was 16 and Moore was in his mid-30s.