One of our last shreds of hope for the country’s salvation was dashed today after it was announced that Louisiana’s Foster Campbell was not only defeated by Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy in the runoff race for the Senate, but utterly annihilated. Kennedy won with 64 percent of the vote, meaning Republicans now lead the Senate 52-48.
Kennedy was always favored to win the race, particularly because Louisiana has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since 2008. Though Campbell enjoyed the backing of the state’s Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards, Kennedy’s status was bolstered by the support of both Donald Trumples and Mike Pence. At a rally on Friday, Trump noted that “If he doesn’t win, I have myself a problem in Washington. It’s close.” He later added, “If John’s not there, maybe we can’t build the wall.”
Campbell’s long shot bid piqued what was left of the nation’s demolished hopes for a more liberal bent to the Republican-controlled Senate, though in truth Campbell was probably not the progressive savior many would have liked him to be. According to the New Orleans Advocate:
Kennedy and Campbell are similar, though both scoff at the comparisons. Kennedy called Campbell a liberal “in the pocket of Hillary Clinton.” Campbell said Kennedy “flip-flops on core beliefs” to win supporters.
Both candidates embraced many of the doctrines of their respective political parties. Kennedy opposes the federal health care law, treaties that expand trade with other countries, and appointing anyone to the U.S. Supreme Court whose political views are not in line with the late Justice Antonin Scalia.
But Kennedy and Campbell also are longtime policy wonks elected to tediously technical but essential government bureaus. Both are socially conservative, church-going Protestants who like to hunt and lean on homespun phrases to explain complex concepts.
While the last-minute surge of support for Campbell—which yielded more than $2.5 million in individual donations—was certainly impressive, it ultimately wasn’t enough to clinch the victory.
“We left no stone unturned,” he said in his concession speech. “I make no excuses. We did everything humanly possible.”