Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s 12-point loss in a weekend runoff ended up closer than several polls suggested it could be. But an Associated Press analysis of the returns show that a slide in turnout simply wasn’t enough for Landrieu to recover the ground she’d lost since her last victory six years ago.
Saturday’s vote resulted in a comfortable win for Rep. Bill Cassidy, a Baton Rouge Republican who will give the GOP a 54-seat majority when the Senate convenes in January.
Cassidy ended up with a 151,231-vote advantage over Landrieu, who led an eight-candidate field in the Nov. 4 primary ballot, finishing 16,349 votes ahead Cassidy. But, as expected, the congressman picked up enough votes from vanquished GOP rivals to avoid any political drama as returns rolled in.
Here are some highlights of Cassidy’s win.
— Cassidy won 49 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes. Six years ago, when Landrieu defeated Republican John Kennedy without a runoff, the Democratic senator carried 38 parishes.
— Turnout was down from the primary, but that appeared to hurt Landrieu more across the board. Her vote total went down by 58,298 votes. Cassidy’s went up by 109,282.
— Cassidy fell 93,274 votes short of the combined total that he and third-place primary finisher Rob Maness, a tea party Republican, got in the primary. That suggests some drop off in enthusiasm among arch-conservatives who never fully embraced Cassidy — Maness got 202,556 votes in November — but it didn’t affect the final outcome.
— Landrieu has always depended heavily on her advantage in cities, but she couldn’t drive up her margins there enough to make up for the support she and her party have lost in small towns and rural precincts.
— In the eight parishes that contain Louisiana’s largest municipalities, Landrieu managed an 18,568-vote advantage over Cassidy’s and Maness’s combined total in November. She managed only to widen the gap to 21,037 on Saturday. Both figures would have been steep deficits if not for Orleans Parish, Landrieu’s hometown and still a principal source of African-American and white liberal votes for Louisiana Democrats.
— Cassidy managed to tighten the margin in other urban parishes. He lost his home parish of East Baton Rouge by 7,130 votes. But that shaved off almost 500 votes from Landrieu’s advantage over Cassidy and Maness in the primary. Landrieu again won Orleans Parish by an overwhelming margin. But Cassidy closed the gap by more than 5,000 votes.