The three top Republicans who competed in last weekend's special election primary for state treasurer had something in common: They were all rooting for the race's lone Democrat.

Not because any of them wanted attorney Derrick Edwards to win, but because they wanted him to make the runoff — which, the theory goes, would make the surviving Republican an overwhelming runoff favorite in heavily conservative Louisiana. And that he did. Edwards finished first in the six-candidate field with 31 percent, even though the state Democratic party didn't bother to endorse him and he barely ran a campaign.

One Republican candidate, former Jindal commissioner of administration Angele Davis, wanted Edwards to win so badly that she used her own campaign money to send a mailer to New Orleans Democrats on his behalf. The gist of the confusing piece was that there were basically two candidates worth considering — herself, described as an avowed Trump supporter, and Edwards. If the targeted voters didn't like the sound of her, the implication was, their obvious play was to vote for him.

Whether it helped Edwards pile up the votes in heavily Democratic New Orleans, where the mayor's race bumped up turnout in comparison to more conservative parts of the state, isn't clear. But it didn't help Davis complete the second part of her task, to make sure she was the Republican left standing.

Instead, that honor went to former state Rep. John Shroder, who ran a straightforward campaign that telegraphed former treasurer and now-U.S. Sen. John Kennedy's go-to message, that all other politicians are self-dealing scoundrels.

In theory, this puts Schroder in the catbird seat, but he's got one last hurdle to overcome: He has to get his voters to show up for one more round.

The biggest draw on the runoff ballot will be the New Orleans mayoral contest, which means many of those Democrats who propelled Edwards are likely to turn out again.

Schroder should benefit at least a bit from the runoff in conservative St. Tammany Parish to fill his former state House seat, which could entice some sympathetic voters back to the polls. Otherwise, his main job now is to convince fellow Republicans that, all appearances aside, the treasurer's race remains competitive.

Because if he can't do that, it just might turn out that way.

Follow Stephanie Grace on Twitter, @stephgracela.