BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Republican U.S. Sen. John Kennedy won a second six-year term Tuesday, fending off challenges from Louisiana Democrats.
Addressing a crowd of about 200 people, during his victory speech at a watch party in Baton Rouge, Kennedy said the results “took my breath away.”
“I will promise you this, as long as I have a breath in my body and until you tell me to come home — by God I will refuse to be beaten.”
Kennedy’s reelection was expected in the reliably red state of Louisiana where a Democratic U.S. Senator has not been elected in 14 years. In addition to Kennedy, all six U.S. House incumbents — five Republicans and one Democrat — were reelected Tuesday.
Throughout Kennedy’s bid for reelection he gained key endorsements, notably from former President Donald Trump who carried 58% of Louisiana’s vote during the 2020 presidential election.
Kennedy, who is viewed as a possible candidate for Louisiana governor next year, has proven to be popular in Louisiana and on Capitol Hill. He raised an astounding $36 million in his reelection bid — 10 times as much as his Democratic challengers combined.
The former state Treasurer serves on the Appropriations, Banking, Budget, Judiciary, and Small Business Committees in the U.S. Senate. Leading up to Tuesday’s election, Kennedy touted his voting record — which included bills to cut taxes, “secure the border” and “stand up to China” — since being elected to federal office in 2016.
“I believe — that the future of Louisiana, and the future of America, can be better than our present and our past,” the incumbent said Tuesday.
The politician has become known on Capitol Hill for his outspoken, folksy responses and quotable sound bites. Capitalizing on one of his many frequently-used soundbites, at Kennedy’s election night event he served signature drink’s entitled the “Old Fashioned Weed Killer” — an ode to his catchphrase that he would rather drink the chemical than “let down” or “stop fighting” for Louisianans.
In addition, at the event were life size cut outs of the Republican paired with a speech bubble of another popular soundbite inside, “Always be yourself, unless you suck.”
Despite being the likely favorite, 12 other candidates launched bids to unseat Kennedy. Among the Democratic challengers were activist Gary Chambers Jr. — who drew national attention earlier this year for an online video ad that shows him smoking marijuana while decrying racial disparities in drug arrests — and Luke Mixon a commercial airline pilot endorsed by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Under Louisiana’s unique primary system, all candidates run on the same ballot, regardless of party. In races where nobody won a majority, the two top finishers were to face off in a December runoff. But results proved no runoff was necessary.
Democratic opponents of Kennedy repeatedly attacked the Republican’s opposition to abortion and for being among GOP lawmakers who refused to certify the 2020 election results in which Joe Biden defeated Trump to become president. But Kennedy handedly held onto his seat.