Republicans sweep Louisiana runoffs, ending 2016 elections

Though Louisiana now has a Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, he is the only Democrat to now hold statewide office, the Advocate noted, and Republicans have won 15 out of 17 statewide elections since 2008.

The top race Saturday for an open U.S. Senate seat pitted Republican John Kennedy, the state treasurer, against Democrat Foster Campbell, a state utility regulator.

CNN projects Republican John Kennedy has won Saturday's US Senate runoff election in Louisiana. The national GOP has provided resources and staff into assisting Kennedy's campaign, while national Democratic organizations have largely abandoned Campbell, assuming an easy win for Republicans.

In addition to Kennedy's win, two other Republicans were also elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on December 10: Clay Higgins was elected over fellow Republican Scott A. Angele in the state's third Congressional district, and Mike Johnson won out in Louisiana's fourth district over Democrat Marshall Jones.

Speaking to supporters, Kennedy said "Washington insiders" have taken the country in the wrong direction.

Winning the state's final Senate seat was always going to be an uphill battle for Campbell, in a red state that went for President-elect Donald Trump with 58% of the vote.

It was Kennedy's third U.S. Senate run since 2004 and this time he won in a landslide, taking 61 percent to Campbell's 39 percent in the low-turnout election. "That's about to change, folks", Kennedy vowed.

Louisiana's newly elected US senator, Republican John Kennedy, says his campaign was about change in Washington.

The Senate seat was open because Republican David Vitter decided against running for a third term after losing the governor's race previous year.

Saturday's contest comes after no one candidate captured a majority of the votes in November, a requirement of state law to avoid a runoff. Both men vying for the seat are well-known figures, involved in Louisiana politics for decades.

Kennedy, an Oxford-educated lawyer from south Louisiana, is in his fifth term as treasurer, a role in which he repeatedly drew headlines for financial clashes with Louisiana's governors.

He sprinkled speeches with examples of government-financed contracts he considered outrageous, like money "to study the effects of Swedish massage on bunny rabbits".

He also ran as a Louisiana Democrat - strongly opposed to abortion and supportive of gun rights.

With Kennedy's victory, the Republicans will have a 52-seat majority in the 100-seat U.S. Senate.

Angelle, third-place finisher in last year's governor's race, has been an elected or appointed official for almost three decades.

The House seats are open because Republicans Charles Boustany and John Fleming unsuccessfully sought the Senate seat instead of re-election.

Republican Mike Johnson will head to Washington in January to represent Louisiana's 4th Congressional District.

  • Jon Douglas