UPDATED 9:45 p.m.

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy easily secured a second term Tuesday after a low-key election.

Cassidy, a Republican, had won 65% of the vote with about 60% of the vote counted. 

Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins was his closest Democratic rival with about 15% of the vote. Derrick Edwards, an attorney in Harvey, won about 10% of the vote even though he didn't campaign. He had the endorsements of U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond of New Orleans and state Sen. Cleo Fields of Baton Rouge, perhaps the two best-known Black elected officials in the state.

In all, Cassidy faced 14 other candidates. Besides Perkins, only two others — New Orleans teacher Peter Wenstrup and small businessman and part-time actor Antoine Pierce from Baton Rouge — raised a bit of money and did much campaigning.

Cassidy began the campaign in a strong position in a race labeled by national handicappers as a safe Republican seat.

Although he has been overshadowed in the media by his junior Senate colleague, John Kennedy, Cassidy has been a stalwart Republican over the past six years and hadn’t committed any major gaffe.

Perhaps most importantly, he had voted down the line with President Donald Trump. This scared off a challenge from a more conservative Republican.

That allowed Cassidy to run a toned-down campaign, in which he ignored Perkins while not feeling the need to campaign on red-meat but divisive Trump issues, such as building a wall to shut down the country’s southern border to immigrants. Cassidy also deflected some of Trump’s more racially intolerant remarks by not agreeing with the president, then pointing to what Cassidy said were financial gains minorities received during the past four years.

Cassidy, 63, had little contact with voters throughout the campaign, in part because the coronavirus complicated holding traditional campaign events and in part because he ran a cautious, front-runner’s strategy of ducking debates and campaign forums, and minimizing his contact with reporters.

With millions of dollars more from donors with interests in federal affairs, Cassidy relied on a series of TV ads that highlighted his past as a doctor and portrayed him as a faithful steward of Louisiana values.

It appeared for a time that no major Democrat would get in the race. No Democrat had won a Senate race since Mary Landrieu won a third term in 2008, and Cassidy had thumped her in 2014 with 56% of the vote.

But Perkins jumped in just before the qualifying deadline. At 34, he was unknown in the state, having served as mayor for less than two years in Shreveport.

Perkins immediately became the Democratic front-runner.

In person and in his first TV ad, Perkins emphasized his background as the son of a single parent, and as someone who graduated from West Point, who saw combat in the Army in Afghanistan and Iraq, and who graduated from Harvard Law School before winning the mayor’s race in 2018.

Perkins attacked Cassidy’s votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act passed under President Barack Obama. He said the expansion of Medicaid had given health care to 500,000 people and benefited 1 million who had preexisting conditions and could no longer have medical care denied to them because of that.

Email Will Sentell at wsentell@theadvocate.com.