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Tags: kennedy | louisiana | senate | repubican

Kennedy Wins Louisiana Senate Race; Gives GOP 52-seat Majority

Kennedy Wins Louisiana Senate Race; Gives GOP 52-seat Majority

By    |   Saturday, 10 December 2016 10:17 PM

Republican Louisiana State Treasurer John Kennedy won a runoff election Saturday, defeating Democratic Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell and increasing the GOP's control of chamber to four seats.

NOLA.com called the race for Kennedy, 65, within an hour after the polls closed.

With 48 percent of the votes counted by then, Kennedy was leading Campbell 63-37 percent.

The runoff was for the seat of Republican Sen. David Vitter, who is retiring after two terms in the Senate. He lost the governor's race last year.

Neither Kennedy nor Campbell won a majority in the Nov. 8 election, causing the runoff. Polls had shown Kennedy with a comfortable lead.

Kennedy's victory extends Republican control of the Senate to 52 seats, versus 48 for the Democrats.

Republicans also won two open U.S. House seats in runoffs: Clay Higgins, a former sheriff's captain known as the "Cajun John Wayne," won in the 3rd District representing southwest and south-central Louisiana — and state Rep. Mike Johnson took 4th District covering northwest Louisiana.

An Oxford-educated lawyer from south Louisiana, Kennedy was re-elected to his fifth term as treasurer in 2015.

Kennedy had run for Senate twice before, losing to Vitter as a Democrat in 2004 and to Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu in 2008 as a Republican.

The Senate runoff drew national attention, with President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence each traveling to Louisiana to rally for Kennedy.

The Republican Party provided resources and staff to assist Kennedy's campaign, while national Democratic organizations largely abandoned Campbell, assuming an easy win for the GOP.

In Baton Rouge on Friday, Trump urged Bayou State voters to back Kennedy.

"We have to get the people to go to the polls," Trump told a rally at the Dow Chemical Hangar as part of his "thank you" tour of battleground states. "If you go to the polls, he's going to win.

"If you don't go to the polls, he's not going to win."

Republican National Committee co-chair Sharon Day said Saturday that Kennedy's win capped "a year of historic Republican wins up and down the ballot."

"With 52 seats in the U.S. Senate, we are excited for Republicans to confirm a conservative Supreme Court justice and begin working with President-elect Trump to pass an agenda of change for the American people," she added.

"Whether it's winning the White House, Congress, or state-level races, Republicans have much to celebrate this year."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said that "voters in Louisiana and across the country made it clear this year they are eager for a new direction from the White House.

"They kept Republican majorities in Congress to work with the new administration to help strengthen our national and economic security.

"Senate Republicans are ready to lead and we look forward to John joining our team."
In the Senate race, Kennedy touted his support for Trump and slammed Obamacare.

"The good thing about this race is that nobody's going to confuse the two of us," Kennedy said of his opponent. "He's a liberal. I'm a conservative.

"He supported [Hillary] Clinton. I supported Mr. Trump.

"He believes government can spend the money you earn better than you can. I don't."

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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kennedy, louisiana, senate, repubican
Saturday, 10 December 2016 10:17 PM
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