Wins La. Senate Race, Avoids Runoff
November 3, 2004
Louisiana voters elected Republican Rep. David Vitter to the U.S. Senate with 51.6 percent of the vote, the Associated Press projected early Wednesday.
Vitter needed to garner more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid a runoff with the candidate coming in second place, according to a unique state election process.
Trailing Vitter were Democrats U.S. Rep. Chris John with 29 percent, state Treasurer John Kennedy with almost 15 percent and state Rep. Arthur Morrell with 2 percent of the vote.
The race gained national attention because of the possibility it would tip the balance of a split Senate. Before the Louisiana race was called, however, the Republicans had clinched 50 Senate seats.
Runoff May Decide Balance of Power in Senate
Republican Rep. David Vitter and the three Democrats, Rep. Chris John, state Treasurer John Kennedy and state Rep. Arthur Morrell, gathered for a one-hour forum at Xavier University, where they politely differed on a variety of topics, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.
John, who has Breaux's endorsement, is seeking to differentiate himself as the moderate consensus-builder, while Kennedy is taking a more populist approach, criticizing the Bush administration for tax cuts he says mainly favor the wealthy, according to the Times-Picayune.
But at the debate, the two showed few clear-cut differences with both opposing private school vouchers for children in "failing" schools and pledging to fight any congressional attempts to close military bases in their state.
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