“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.
That’s 52 seats in the U.S. Senate!
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.
— Dan Scavino Jr. (@DanScavino) December 11, 2016
He did that Saturday (Dec. 10), handily beating Democrat Foster Campbell in the runoff to succeed retiring Sen. David Vitter, R-La.
Kennedy’s victory “caps a year of historic Republican wins up and down the ballot,” Republican National Committee co-chair Sharon Day said, according to The Hill.
“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.
A five-time elected state treasurer, Kennedy rode Louisiana’s inexorable bend toward the Republican party and the popularity of President-elect Donald Trumpto win the elected post he has coveted for much of his public career.
Kennedy, 65, will join an emboldened Republican Party in Washington. The GOP kept its majority in the House and control of the Senate — Kennedy’s addition increased that lead to 52-48. Trump, Vice President-elect Mike Pence and GOP congressional leaders have vowed to pursue an aggressive agenda on Day One.
The results confirmed Kennedy’s dominance despite Campbell’s attracting a late-inning surge of donations from Democrats distraught over Trump’s surprising Nov. 8 victory. After raising few outside funds for much of the campaign, the 69-year-old public service commissioner brought in more than $2.5 million in individual donations during the weeks just before and after the presidential election.
“We did everything humanly possible,” Campbell said in his concession speech. “We knew going into this race that it was going to be tough.”
Kennedy had tried for a Senate seat twice before, falling to Vitter in 2004 as a Democrat and to Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., in 2008 as a Republican.
But this was his time. Kennedy led the race from the beginning and outlasted 23 rivals, including two well-financed Republican congressmen and two formidable Democrats, to win a quarter of the votes in the November primary.
U.S. Reps. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, and John Fleming, R-Minden, endorsed Kennedy after their losses. New Orleans lawyer Caroline Fayard, the other top Democrat in the field, gave reluctant support to Campbell after a bruising primary battle.
Kennedy embraced Trump’s winning strategy of anti-Washington rhetoric, adding his own twang and homespun folksiness to its delivery, and coasted to a victory in the final four weeks.
Kennedy will take his oath of office in January just as Trump completes his move into the White House.
“I’m already working with John to ensure a smooth transition to the Senate, where I know he’ll hit the ground running,” Vitter said.
Kennedy began his career in public office as the attorney for Gov. Buddy Roemer. He also worked as secretary of the Department of Revenue under Gov. Mike Foster before winning his first race for treasurer in 1999. He would be elected four more times, the latest last year.
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