It was a good weekend for the GOP and Donald Trump as the great state of Louisiana handed them even bigger majorities in both Houses of Congress.
Frist in the Senate, thanks in large part to Louisiana’s odd election methodology, Republican John Kennedy easily defeated his Democrat rival Foster Campbell in a runoff. Kennedy was the leading vote getter on election night, November 8th, but Louisiana’s system forces a runoff between the top 2 candidates if no one can win the majority of votes. The race was seemingly never in question, but even so, President-elect Donald Trump traveled down to the Bayou State earlier this week stump for Kennedy.
“He’s a great guy…somebody that I’ve known over the years,” Trump said of Kennedy, speaking from Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Friday afternoon. “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.”
Trump: If John Kennedy doesn’t win the Senate seat in Louisiana, “I’ve got myself a problem in Washington” https://t.co/L0E542tG5u
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) December 9, 2016
But Trump had little reason for concern as Kennedy cruised to victory on Saturday.
Kennedy sounded a happy note when speaking at his victory rally on Saturday night. “Somebody once said winning isn’t everything, and that’s true, but it sure does feel good.”
Kennedy’s victory means that the GOP will enjoy at least a 52-48 advantage in the Senate, “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.”
However, that difference could grow wider if President-elect Trump were to choose North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) for his cabinet (which seems likely).
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.
Kennedy wasn’t the only Republican celebrating on Sunday. State Rep. Mike Johnson, a Republican from Bossier City, was also elected to his first term in Congress. Johnson is a deeply conservative, pro-life activist who could become a new lightning rod for criticism upon reaching Washington, D.C.
Before joining the Legislature, Johnson had a long record of working for conservative causes as a constitutional lawyer. He has been hired by the Louisiana government and others to defend abortion restrictions from legal challenges. Fox News and other cable talk shows regularly had him as a guest to represent conservative views.
Johnson will be an important new ally for conservatives in D.C., and his victory (combined with Kennedy’s) means that the national GOP just had a very good weekend down in Louisiana.