By the Way, Republicans Won Another Senate Seat Over the Weekend

Posted: Dec 12, 2016 10:25 AM

Cortney covered this news yesterday, but I wanted to make sure you saw it because with Louisiana's Congressional runoffs complete, we can now close the books on the 2016 election cycle. Donald Trump won the presidency with 306 electoral votes, as Wisconsin's recount hasn't even remotely approached changing the outcome (as expected), while Michigan's was halted by a judge. The only way that Clinton could have possibly won was via result-tipping recounts in both of those states plus Pennsylvania, where Trump's lead is roughly 70,000 votes. Not happening. It's over.

Over in the Senate, Louisiana's Republican State Treasurer John Kennedy crushed his Democratic opponent by 22 points in that state's runoff election on Saturday. The runoff was triggered when no candidate won an outright majority on November 8, due to an extremely crowded field and Louisiana's electoral system. Kennedy's victory was expected in the red state that backed the GOP presidential ticket by 20 points. Mitch McConnell's Republican majority now stands at 52-48. This is an impressive accomplishment. This year's Senate class was last up for election six years ago -- the red tidal wave of 2010. As a result, the GOP was forced to defend a slate of incumbents across a cross-section of swing states in a presidential year, which have not been nearly as kind to Republicans as midterm election in recent times. Even with most Senate Republicans running ahead of Donald Trump in public polling, the likelihood of holding onto even 51 seats struck many analysts (including yours truly) as a very tall task. In the end, Democrats only netted two seats in spite of the favorable map they faced. Now Democrats are staring down the gauntlet of an exceptionally challenging 2018 map.

In the House of Representatives, the GOP held onto two Louisiana seats contested in runoffs. The Third District featured an all-Republican runoff, as neither of the top two vote-getters were Democrats. In the Fourth District, the Republican candidate battered the Democrat by 30 points. Entering the 2016 cycle, Republicans controlled 246 House seats their high water mark since the 1920's. Democrats were expected to make significant gains this year, even though recapturing the majority was widely considered to be a long shot. As it turned out, Paul Ryan's lower chamber majority was barely dented at all, with Democrats picking up just five seats. The partisan split in the House will be a fairly commanding  241 to 194 in the GOP's favor when the next Congress convenes in January.

Finally, as we detailed in this post last week, no analysis of the 2016 election would be complete without a review of the Republican Party's extraordinary dominance at the state level.  I'll leave you with video of Donald Trump's rally for now Senator-elect Kennedy in Baton Rouge: