Maybe the experts will call it winning ugly, but the more than 700,000 votes amassed by U.S. Senator-elect Bill Cassidy are by any measure a landslide.
As closely divided as Americans are on many issues, and with a sharp racial divide in Louisiana politics in particular, almost anything over 52 or 53 percent can be considered a handsome win, and Cassidy won with 56 percent.
For Cassidy, the victory comes after a bruising campaign against three-term incumbent Mary Landrieu, whose relentless pursuit of re-election failed to beat back a nationwide Republican tide evidenced in GOP wins across the nation in November.
The scope of that earlier election means that Cassidy, a congressman from Baton Rouge, will join a new GOP majority in the Senate. As part of the pre-election maneuvering, he was promised a seat on the Energy Committee, which Landrieu headed in the last Congress and which is of obvious importance to one of Louisiana’s core industries.
That was not all that was settled in Saturday’s runoff.
Two other Republican members of Congress were elected. Garret Graves, the former coastal czar for Gov. Bobby Jindal, will be Cassidy’s replacement in the House. Graves starts out with experience as an aide in Congress, so he will be able to hit the ground running.
In northeastern Louisiana, Ralph Abraham, a physician — he will be the fourth among Louisiana’s eight congressmen and senators — won the seat lost in the primary by incumbent Republican Rep. Vance McAllister, who was tarred by scandal.
Because of Louisiana’s weirdly drawn district lines, Abraham’s district reaches nearly south to Baton Rouge and across the Florida Parishes to Bogalusa. He will have his work cut out for him serving the various communities in the sprawling district.
We congratulate the victors and hope that the losers, particularly the tenacious Landrieu, can find some consolation in the battles they waged. Sharp elbows flew in the Senate race in particular. We are disappointed that there was little discussion of more Louisiana-specific issues, but the proof of Cassidy’s strategy was in the returns. He shrewdly stuck to his opposition to President Barack Obama and more general fealty to the Republican agenda on Capitol Hill.
After a decade in politics in the state Senate and then the U.S. House, Cassidy is no novice, but he will now be representing a diverse state that is a bigger challenge than his previous posts. He succeeds a senator and has a colleague in David Vitter, who are known for a ferocious work ethic. The new job is the big leagues by any standard.
We congratulate him on his victory.