Republican John Kennedy is projected to win the Louisiana Senate runoff election, giving the GOP a 52-seat majority in the upper chamber.
Kennedy, Louisiana’s state treasurer, defeated Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell (D) on Saturday in the race to replace retiring Sen. David VitterDavid Bruce VitterBiden inaugural committee to refund former senator's donation due to foreign agent status Bottom line Lysol, Charmin keep new consumer brand group lobbyist busy during pandemic MORE (R-La.), according to The Associated Press.
Republican National Committee (RNC) co-chair Sharon Day heralded Kennedy's victory Saturday evening, saying it "caps a year of historic Republican wins up and down the ballot."
"And 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 said in a statement.
Louisiana GOP Chairman Roger Villere said Kennedy's victory showed that "the Republican brand continues to be the brand of choice for Louisiana voters, with voters choosing a Republican over a Democrat in 16 of the last 17 statewide elections."
"We look forward to working with Senator-elect Kennedy to drain the swamp in Washington, DC, protect the lives of the unborn, and balance the federal budget," he said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHow Cruz Supreme Court case could lead to unlimited anonymous election spending Trump and Biden should stop denigrating US elections The Armageddon elections to come MORE (R-Ky.) lauded Kennedy's "resounding victory" while emphasizing a desire among voters for "a new direction from the White House."
"Senate Republicans are ready to lead and we look forward to John joining our team," McConnell said in a statement.
Vice President-elect Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceSen. Tim Scott rakes in nearly million in fourth quarter Press: Newt says lock 'em up – for doing their job! Bipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election law MORE also sent a tweet congratulating Kennedy. Pence campaigned in Louisiana on behalf of the GOP candidate last weekend, and President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors Former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz elected to Baseball Hall of Fame Overnight Health Care — Senators unveil pandemic prep overhaul MORE stumped there on Friday.
Kennedy, who had previously run unsuccessfully for Senate twice, ran well ahead of Campbell in polling throughout the race. Trump won Louisiana by 20 points, and 60 percent of the state’s electorate voted for one of the Republican Senate candidates in the November jungle primary.
Trump and Pence endorsed Kennedy ahead of the runoff and made last-minute visits to the state to rally for him.
Republicans invested heavily in the race, even with Kennedy having the upper hand. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) opened 10 field offices statewide and went up with a six-figure TV ad buy.
NRSC Chairman Sen. Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerOn The Money — Support for new COVID-19 relief grows Democrats face scaled-back agenda after setbacks Momentum builds for new COVID-19 relief for businesses MORE (R-Miss.) described his victory Saturday as "a win for Louisiana families who want to see more jobs and economic growth, preserve Second Amendment rights, and protect the Supreme Court from liberal activist judges."
Democrats were hoping to pull off another statewide win following Gov. John Bel Edwards’ (D) election last year, and sought to end the year on a high note after devastating losses up and down the ballot on Election Day.
Campbell raised $2.5 million in the most recent campaign filing, outpacing Kennedy by $1 million. A super-PAC backing his bid ran an ad claiming that Kennedy, a former Democrat, previously supported abortion rights.
Campbell is anti-abortion rights. Kennedy pushed back in an interview, saying he “never supported abortion.”
But the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) declined to invest in the race, after only flipping two Senate seats in November and failing to take over the majority.
Kennedy’s win caps off the final race of the 2016 cycle and gives Republicans further bragging rights after clinching the White House and preserving majorities in both chambers of Congress a month earlier.
Updated: 10:51 p.m.