Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy crushed Sen. Mary Landrieu in Saturday’s Senate runoff, giving Republicans a final Senate victory in a big year for the party.
With about 80 percent of precincts reporting, Cassidy was leading Landrieu by 17 percentage points. The three-term Democrat was an underdog; the result was not a surprise.
With Cassidy’s win, Republicans will control 54 of the Senate’s 100 seats in the next Congress.
Landrieu’s chances looked bleak from the start. She won 42 percent in the Nov. 4 election, but Cassidy and conservative Rob Maness won the rest. Because no one won a majority, the two top finished vied in Saturday’s runoff.
The rejection of Landrieu was another blow to the party in the South, where incumbents lost Senate races in North Carolina and Arkansas.
The national party and its supporters all but forgot Landrieu in the weeks leading up to the runoff. She tried to stress her knowledge of local issues, and arranged a Senate vote on the Keystone XL pipeline. But that effort fell a vote short – while in the House of Representatives, a Cassidy Keystone bid succeeded.