Republican wins US Senate runoff in Louisiana, giving party 52 seats

Dec 13, 2016, 00:53
Republican wins US Senate runoff in Louisiana, giving party 52 seats

The U.S. Senate race between Republican John Kennedy and Democrat Foster Campbell garnered nationwide attention from politicians on both sides of the aisle because of the impact it will have on which party controls the Senate.

Campbell told his supporters in the state capital of Baton Rouge that he had called Kennedy to congratulate him on his victory.

Campbell, a state utility regulator, received little assistance from national Democratic organizations but during the campaign he cited a surge of contributions from voters around the country after Democrat Hillary Clinton's loss to Republican Donald Trump.

He frequently repeated his mantra that too many fat cats at the top of the economic chain were getting bailouts and too many at the bottom were getting handouts while the middle class was getting stuck with the bill.

Foster Campbell stands with his family and speaks at the Capitol Hilton during the runoff US senate election between Campbell and John Kennedy in Baton Rouge, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016.

Also on Saturday, Republicans Mike Johnson, a state representative, and Clay Higgins prevailed in Congressional runoffs, replacing representatives who made unsuccessful bids for the Senate seat won by Kennedy. Kennedy pledged that he wanted to be a senator for "all Louisianians", including those who didn't vote for him. A poll released on December 5 by Tulane University showed Kennedy polling ahead of Campbell with 60% of the vote - an accurate measure of the actual election results.

Kennedy, 65, was a Democrat until he switched party affiliation in the conservative-leaning state to become a Republican in 2007. If Kennedy wins, the GOP would secure a 52-48 edge in the Senate when the new term begins January 3.

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.

In the 3rd District race, Higgins traded blistering attacks with his fellow Republican opponent, Scott Angelle, a member of the Public Service Commission and well-known public official for almost 30 years. He had been the presumed front-runner since announcing his campaign, armed with more money and support than any competitors in the primary.

Johnson focused on his conservative record, both his decades as a constitutional attorney and his almost two years in the Louisiana Legislature pushing social and fiscal conservative issues.

The 4th District race was between two lawyers: Republican Mike Johnson and Democrat Marshall Jones.

Louisiana's extra-long election cycle has ended with a Republican sweep.

Two House seats were open because Republicans Charles Boustany and John Fleming unsuccessfully sought the Senate seat instead of re-election. But it wasn't enough to stave off yet another GOP win for 2016.

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