(Adds Congressional race result, details)
By Bryn Stole
BATON ROUGE, La. Dec 10 Republican John Neely
Kennedy, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, won a runoff election
in Louisiana on Saturday against Democrat Foster Campbell in a
race that gives the Republicans a 52-seat majority in the
Campbell told his supporters in the state capital of Baton
Rouge that he had called Kennedy to congratulate him on his
Kennedy, the state treasurer and the favorite going into the
runoff, had slightly less than 61 percent of the vote with all
3,904 precincts reporting, according to the state Secretary of
State's office. Turnout was relatively low.
Kennedy, who said he will not move to Washington D.C. after
a campaign spent railing against "insiders," told supporters
"I'd rather drink weed-killer than be anywhere else tonight," a
reference to a widely reported campaign quote in which he said
he "would rather drink weed-killer than support Obamacare."
Kennedy will fill the seat held by outgoing Republican
Senator David Vitter, who is retiring.
In conceding, Campbell vowed "I'll never stop fighting for
working families, I'll never stop working for what's right."
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat,
congratulated Kennedy on his victory.
"I look forward to working with him to secure additional
funding for flood relief, to make long term investments in our
infrastructure and to bring Louisiana's federal tax dollars home
to help our people," Edwards said in a statement.
With Kennedy's victory, the Republicans will have a 52-seat
majority in the 100-seat U.S. Senate. Going into the general
election on Nov. 8, Republicans had a 54-seat majority.
Kennedy had campaigned on the popularity in his state of
President-elect Donald Trump, who easily won Louisiana.
Trump flew to Baton Rouge for an election-eve rally on
Kennedy's behalf, and Vice President-elect Mike Pence earlier
stumped for Kennedy as well.
Kennedy, 65, was a Democrat until he switched party
affiliation in the conservative-leaning state in 2007.
He had consistently polled well ahead of Campbell since
placing first in the state's 24-candidate free-for-all primary,
which included former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
Celebrities including Patton Oswalt and John Leguizamo both
actively supported Campbell's losing bid.
Under Louisiana law, all candidates are pitted against each
other in the November general election. If no candidate claims a
majority, the top two candidates move to a runoff.
Also on Saturday, Republicans Mike Johnson, a state
representative, and Clay Higgins prevailed in Congressional
runoffs, replacing representatives who made unsuccessful bids
for the Senate seat won by Kennedy.
(Additional reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles;
Editing by Sam Holmes, Robert Birsel)