The blue dog faces a flip-flopper in Louisiana Senate race

Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Trump expands tariffs on steel and aluminum imports CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group MORE pulled off a stunner on Election Day. 

Though I had written off the firebrand Republican reality television star months ago, he managed to tap into an upwelling of populist discontent and rode that wave to victory, taking with him a narrow majority in the Senate. 

However, the nation will have to wait until December 10th to see how the dust will finally settle, when Louisiana holds its runoff in a heated Senate contest with national implications. On the surface, this race looks like a lock for four-term Republican State Treasurer John Kennedy. The national GOP machine has rolled in to deliver its final kill of 2016, and all the talking heads have gone ahead and called it for him.

That sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

It wasn’t but a few days ago that people were saying the same thing about Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSanders to Clinton: 'This is not the kind of rhetoric that we need' Sekulow vows Bidens, Ukraine will be part of Trump impeachment defense Elizabeth Warren: More 'Hillary' than Hillary MORE. Just last year, we heard that kind of talk in a governor’s race that saw Democrat John Bel Edwards pull off an upset victory.

To be sure, Kennedy has the upper-hand in deep-Red Louisiana. However, his opponent Foster Campbell might be perfectly positioned to surprise us all.

Campbell and Kennedy could not be more dissimilar.

A longtime State Senator and current Public Service Commissioner, Campbell has a proven, unimpeachable record of standing up for the little guy. He has repeatedly stood up to the entrenched political interests and took on the all-powerful multinational oil companies that have laid waste to Louisiana’s coast.

On important social issues, like abortion and the Second Amendment, he has never wavered, with a staunch commitment to the unborn and gun rights.

In short, Campbell is the consistent candidate in this race — always there to fight for Louisiana and our populist values.

Kennedy doesn’t have such a solid record to brag about…

Over the course of his 16 years in state government and three separate Senate bids, Kennedy has swung wildly from a liberal Democrat in 2004 to an uncommitted moderate in 2008. Now, he’s landed on his current incarnation as an ultra-conservative firebreathing Republican. He’s been all over the map on social issues and demonstrated remarkable inconsistency on economic ones.

We really have seen it all from him.

However, there is one thing where Kennedy has always been consistent: David VitterDavid Bruce VitterThe biggest political upsets of the decade Red-state governor races put both parties on edge Louisiana Republicans score big legislative wins MORE.

Louisianians shunned their outgoing Senator in last year’s gubernatorial, and now they are glad to see him go unceremoniously into retirement. Vitter is a reviled figure here, but Kennedy has always stood beside his scandal-plagued friend.

He’s also taken cues from him in this campaign, shamelessly promoting a vicious story tenuously linking one of his primary opponents, Republican Congressman Charles BoustanyCharles William BoustanyMarch tariff increase would cost 934K jobs, advocacy group says Bottom Line On The Money: US adds 155k jobs in November | Unemployment holds at 3.7 percent | Wage growth strengthening | Trump signs stopgap spending bill delaying shutdown MORE, to the murders of several prostitutes.

Vitter lost his bid for the Governor’s Mansion last year largely because voters saw right through these kinds of dirty tactics. Will we see that same reaction with Kennedy this go ‘round?

The reality is that no one knows. Though the talking heads have already called it, it ain’t over ‘til it’s over, as Yogi Berra used to say — and that’s why you won’t hear me counting Foster Campbell out.

These final few weeks leading up to the runoff are a lifetime in a campaign like this, and I fully expect them to be as rough and tumble as ever — a real fight that embodies all that makes politics down on the bayou so unique.

Bergeron is a 40-year veteran of Louisiana politics and currently works as a political strategist and communications consultant.


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