Louisiana Senate runoff surprises pretty much nobody

As much as you probably wanted the 2016 elections to be over (at least on the national level) they really weren’t until last night. Louisiana’s curious election laws meant that we once again had to wait until yesterday for their final runoff which determined the last Senate seat as well as a House race. To the surprise of virtually nobody, Republican state treasurer John Kennedy cruised to an easy win for the last Senate seat to be decided. (NOLA)

John Kennedy’s channel to victory was dredged and clear from the beginning of the Louisiana Senate race. All he had to do was stay the course.

He did that Saturday (Dec. 10), handily beating Democrat Foster Campbell in the runoff to succeed retiring Sen. David Vitter, R-La.

“Somebody once said winning isn’t everything, and that’s true, but it sure does feel good,” Kennedy said from his victory party at the Embassy Suites in Baton Rouge.

A five-time elected state treasurer, Kennedy rode Louisiana’s inexorable bend toward the Republican party and the popularity of President-elect Donald Trump to win the elected post he has coveted for much of his public career.

On the same day, Republican State Rep. Mike Johnson won a seat in Congress by a huge margin over Democrat Marshall Jones. Congressman Elect Johnson will represent Louisiana’s 4th District.

Returning to the Senate seat, yesterday afternoon a few of us on social media were batting this race around to see if there was any mystery here. Aside from pointing out that it’s 2016 so you never know what comes next, there wasn’t much to say about the Louisiana race. It’s true they elect Democrats from time to time, but this one just seemed to be over since the runoff began. The Republicans now hold a 52-48 advantage in the upper chamber, well short of a filibuster-proof majority, but more than enough for normal day to day business.

From the beginning of this race Kennedy sought to portray himself as the solid conservative choice and his campaign ads reflected that with a positive, upbeat message. Check out this 30 second spot, with particular attention to the Second Amendment. The takeaway line here is, “I believe that love is the answer. But you oughta own a handgun just in case.”

Welcome to the party, Mr. Senator Elect. You’re going to be walking into some very heavy and frequently contentious votes as soon as you’re sworn in, including a Supreme Court pick and the approval of much of Donald Trump’s cabinet, not to mention repealing Obamacare. (And if needed, we’ll remind you regularly that you ran on doing just that.) Congratulations and best of luck in your new office.


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