Higgins bested a handful of more traditional Republican contenders with much more polished résumés including retired Army Lt. Col. Greg Ellison (8 percent/24,845 votes), recalcitrantly goateed businessman Gus Rantz (8 percent/25,640) and former ambassador and longtime GOP bureau-bot Grover Joseph Rees (1 percent/2,455).
But the bombastic Higgins, whose penchant for fire-and-brimstone language is rivaled only by his 24-hour self-promotion, benefited mightily by one thing in the primary: Donald Trump. Higgins hitched his wagon to the now president-elect, noting often on social media his support for Trump and cleaving closely to many of the same populist, anti-establishment messages that mobilized a gazillion working-class whites who are traditionally low-participation voters. But will those same voters who turned out in spades to elect Trump on Nov. 8 go to the polls for the Dec. 10 runoff? Some will, of course, but likely not in the numbers Higgins will need to beat fellow Republican Angelle, a seasoned politician with a well-oiled machine and deep connections. Much might depend on whether the GOP also-rans in the race throw their support behind Higgins.
Assuming he wins, Angelle could take a page from the playbook of his former boss, Bobby Jindal: keep a seat in Congress warm for two years then run for governor in 2019.