Republican Party

Updated 12:30 p.m. ET

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Wednesday formally named businesswoman and political novice Kelly Loeffler as his pick to replace Sen. Johnny Isakson, who is retiring at the end of this month.

Loeffler's is slated to take office on Jan. 1, the day after Isakson steps down. In August, Isakson cited health concerns as the reason for leaving office with three years left in his term.

In a reversal, embattled Rep. Duncan Hunter is now set to plead guilty to misusing campaign donations, likely ending the California Republican's political career.

Hunter told local TV station KUSI in an interview that he has struck a deal to plead guilty to one count of illegal use of campaign funds. He's due in federal court on Tuesday.

"It's important not to have a public trial for three reasons, and those three reasons are my kids," Hunter said.

Updated at 3:39 a.m. ET

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, held onto his seat Saturday after a tough challenge from his Republican opponent, Eddie Rispone, a wealthy businessman and political newcomer who was supported by President Trump.

Edwards defeated Rispone by about 40,000 votes. Edwards benefited from strong support and high voter turnout in the state's more populated urban areas while Rispone carried most of Louisiana's rural parishes. Polls showed a close race in the final week.

Former South Carolina Gov. and Rep. Mark Sanford has ended his long-shot Republican primary challenge to President Trump.

Sanford announced he was withdrawing Tuesday at a news conference in New Hampshire, the early primary state he had made the focus of his struggling White House bid.

Sanford blamed the impeachment inquiry against Trump for making it harder to make policy-based arguments against the president, including deficit reduction and slashing government spending.

Republican lawmakers are asking that the impeachment inquiry into President Trump hear publicly from Hunter Biden and the anonymous whistleblower whose allegations prompted the probe.

In a letter to Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who is leading the inquiry, Republican Rep. Devin Nunes said that calling these witnesses would help ensure the investigation "treats the President with fairness."

Tuesday's statewide elections in Kentucky and Virginia were a big night for Democrats. And the results tell us a few things about national politics, consequential issues and President Trump.

In Kentucky, Democrat Andy Beshear, the son of former Gov. Steve Beshear, claimed victory Tuesday night and narrowly leads incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin by about 5,000 votes. Bevin has not yet conceded the race.

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is considering changing the lineup of the House Intelligence Committee to include some of President Trump's most vocal defenders in Congress.

"If Democrats are going to turn Intel into the impeachment committee, I am going to make adjustments to that committee accordingly, for a short period of time," McCarthy told Politico on Tuesday. A spokesman for McCarthy confirmed his comments to NPR.

Some of the top names in conservative politics have a message for President Trump: don't fire acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. In fact, Trump should "make him permanent in the Chief of Staff role," they write in an open letter obtained by NPR and set to be released later Thursday.

Updated at 4:29 p.m. ET

Republican members of Congress disrupted the closed-door proceedings of the House impeachment inquiry, preventing a Pentagon official from giving her testimony.

Arguing that the inquiry's interviews should not be held behind closed doors, GOP lawmakers entered the secure area in the Capitol Wednesday where witnesses are typically questioned.

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