Republican Senate candidate John Kennedy has won Saturday’s runoff election, defeating Democrat Foster Campbell by more than 20%.
The win keeps retiring Louisiana Senator David Vitter’s seat in GOP hands, giving President-elect Donald Trump a 52 to 48 majority in the upper chamber of the legislature, the largest an incoming Republican president has enjoyed since Ronald Reagan won in 1980, when his party gained a 53-47 majority.
Vitter, who lost a gubernatorial bid in 2015, had been pressured to resign from the Senate over a prostitution scandal, after having admitted in 2007 to soliciting a Washington D.C. escort service.
Kennedy, who currently serves as Louisiana’s State Treasurer, leads Foster, a district Public Service Commissioner, in the vote count by a double digit margin, 61% to 39% in the two-way ballot.
Louisiana senate races are held under a “jungle primary” system, whereby a large number of candidates from both parties compete for the top two positions. Those two then compete in a runoff election with only two options on the ballot.
In the jungle primary on November 8th, Kennedy came in first with 25% of the vote, compared to Campbell’s second place showing with just under 18%. Former KKK leader David Duke won 3% of the vote in the jungle primary as a Republican, coming in 6th place.