Cassidy defeats Landrieu in Louisiana Senate race, bolstering GOP majority in new Senate

6 PHOTOS
Cassidy defeats Landrieu in Louisiana senate race
See Gallery
Cassidy defeats Landrieu in Louisiana Senate race, bolstering GOP majority in new Senate
NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 06: U.S. Senator candidate Bill Cassidy (R-LA) walks with his wife Laura Cassidy through the Crowne Plaza Hotel prior to his election night watch party on December 6, 2014 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A victory by Cassidy will bring the number of Republican Senate seats captured in this years midterm elections to nine and give Republicans every statewide office in the swath of seven states that used to make up the Solid South for Democrats. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 06: Campaigners parade along the sidewalks as people head to their polling stations to vote in today's run-off Senate election between incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) on December 6, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Landrieu is currently the last Democratic senator from the Deep South. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
BATON ROUGE, LA - DECEMBER 02: Supporters of United States Senator Mary Landrieu listen to her speak at a campaign rally on December 2, 2014 in Gretna, Louisiana. On Saturday December 6, voters will decide if she will keep her seat in the Senate facing Republican challenger Bill Cassidy. (Photo by Edmund D. Fountain for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 4: Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., holds her grandson Maddox on stage as her son Connor and husband Frank look on at the Senator's election night party in New Orleans after her race for Senate was forced into a runoff with Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 06: U.S. Senator candidate Bill Cassidy (R-LA) walks through the Crowne Plaza Hotel prior to his election night watch party on December 6, 2014 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A victory by Cassidy will bring the number of Republican Senate seats captured in this years midterm elections to nine and give Republicans every statewide office in the swath of seven states that used to make up the Solid South for Democrats. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 4: Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., waves to supporters as she arrives on stage at the Senator's election night party in New Orleans after her race for Senate was forced into a runoff with Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy has defeated Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, denying her a fourth term and extending the GOP's domination of the 2014 midterm elections that put Republicans in charge of Capitol Hill for the final two years of President Barack Obama's tenure.

With Cassidy's victory, the GOP will hold 54 seats when the Senate convenes in January, nine more than they have now. Republican victories in two Louisiana House districts Saturday - including the seat Cassidy now holds - ensure at least 246 seats, compared to 188 for Democrats, the largest GOP advantage since the Truman administration after World War II. An Arizona recount leaves one race still outstanding.

In Louisiana, early returns showed Cassidy with a wide lead.

Landrieu had narrowly led a Nov. 4 primary ballot that included eight candidates from all parties. But at 42 percent, she fell well below her marks in previous races, leaving the incumbent scrambling in a one-month runoff campaign that Republicans dominated via the air waves while national Democrats financially abandoned her effort.

Landrieu's defeat is a blow for one of Louisiana's most famous political families, leaving her brother, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, to carry the banner. The GOP sweep also denied former Gov. Edwin Edwards a political comeback; the colorful 87-year-old politician, who had served four terms as governor, sought to regain public office after serving eight years in federal prison on corruption charges.

In the South, Democrats will be left without a single governor or U.S. senator across nine states stretching from the Carolinas to Texas. And the House delegations from the same region are divided almost entirely by race, with white Republicans representing majority-white districts, while majority non-white districts are represented by black or Hispanic Democrats.

The Louisiana Senate race mirrored contests in other states Obama lost in 2012, with Landrieu, 59, joining Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan and Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor in defeat. Democrats ceded seats in Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia after incumbents opted not to run again.

Like victorious Republicans in those races, Cassidy, 57, made his bid against Landrieu as more about Obama than about his own vision for the job. An Illinois native, Cassidy made few public appearances during the runoff, seeking to avoid missteps that could change the race.

Obama's Latest Loss: Mary Landrieu

But in a state where 73 percent of white voters on Nov. 4 told pollsters they "strongly disapproved" of the president, that was enough to prevent Landrieu from finding her footing. Cassidy also enjoyed a prodigious advertising advantage in the runoff: Of every dollar spent by outside groups during the one-month runoff, 97 cents benefited the congressman.

Landrieu tried several messages over the course of her losing effort.

Most recently, she had hammered Cassidy as unfit for the job and interested more in partisanship than helping Louisiana. She directed her most pointed criticism at Cassidy's medical teaching job with the Louisiana State University hospital system. Calling Cassidy "Dr. Double Dip," Landrieu suggested the congressman collected a $20,000, taxpayer-funded salary for little or no work, describing gaps and discrepancies in Cassidy's LSU timesheets. LSU said it's looking into the timesheet questions.

She argued that the race shouldn't be about Obama, but also targeted advertising on radio stations geared to the black community, where the president remains popular.

Her anchor argument was that her seniority was a boon for Louisiana, particularly her chairmanship of the Senate's energy committee, an important panel for this oil-rich state.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.