52 Seats: Republican John Kennedy Wins Louisiana Runoff

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When the Senate convenes the new session in January, Republicans will have a 52-48 majority thanks to the final GOP victory of 2016. On Saturday, Louisiana Republican John Kennedy defeated Democrat Foster Campbell in the state’s runoff election, putting the final touches on an enormously successful year for conservatives.

“I believe that our future can be better than our present, but not if we keep going in the direction the Washington insiders have taken us the last eight years,” Kennedy said in his victory speech. “That’s about to change, folks.”

Neither Kennedy nor Campbell are typical of their respective parties. Campbell ran as a Bernie Sanders-style liberal, raging against the evils of Big Oil and fighting for a higher minimum wage while opposing abortion and supporting gun rights. Kennedy, the state’s treasurer, was a staunch supporter of Donald Trump while fighting back accusations of political flip-flopping; not long ago, he ran as a liberal Democrat himself before joining the GOP.

Republicans understood the importance of the race. Both Donald Trump and Mike Pence traveled to Louisiana to stump for Kennedy recently and the Republican Party poured money and manpower into the campaign.

On the Democrat side, though, there was little effort. Viewing the race as essentially unwinnable, the party abandoned Campbell, drawing ire from liberal celebrities who tried to make up the difference with donations and public appeals. The outside help didn’t change the outcome, but Campbell expressed his gratitude while conceding the race this weekend.

“We worked as hard as possible. We left no stone unturned,” Campbell said. “I make no excuses. We did everything humanly possible.”

In a statement, RNC co-chair Sharon Day said Kennedy’s victory was the icing on top of a year “of historic Republican wins up and down the ballot.”

“With 52 seats in the U.S. Senate, we are excited for Republicans to confirm a conservative Supreme Court justice and begin working with President-elect Trump to pass an agenda of change for the American people,” Day said.

That’s what it all comes down to. Republicans have an opportunity now, but it’s an opportunity that could easily become a curse if they don’t work with Trump to fulfill the desire of conservative voters across the country. If this election has proven anything, it’s that Americans have just about reached their breaking point with Washington.

Don’t let us down.