BATON ROUGE (WVUE) - Louisiana voters have chosen Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy to fill the state's open U.S. Senate seat, giving the GOP a 52-48 edge in the chamber.
Complete but unofficial results from the secretary of state's office show Kennedy got 536,204, or 61 percent, of the 884,017 votes cast.
Slightly more than 3 million voters were eligible to cast ballots in the U.S. Senate runoff, meaning voter turnout unofficially was 29.2 percent.
Saturday's election settled the nation's last Senate seat for the term beginning in January. Kennedy was the front-runner the entire time.
He defeated Democrat Foster Campbell, a state utility regulator whose chances were seen as such a long-shot that national Democratic organizations offered little assistance to his campaign.
In his concession speech, Campbell said his campaign did everything "humanly possible" in trying to win the Senate race in Louisiana and gave special thanks to people throughout the country who contributed to the campaign.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, who endorsed fellow Democrat Campbell in the race, issued a statement Saturday evening congratulating Kennedy.
The victory was a long-sought one for Kennedy, an Oxford-educated lawyer in his fifth term as treasurer. Kennedy had tried unsuccessfully twice before to win a U.S. Senate seat, running first in 2004 as a Democrat and the most recent two times as a Republican.
The seat is open because Republican David Vitter didn't seek re-election.
President-Elect Donald Trump held a rally Friday in the Baton Rouge asking his supporters to back Kennedy in the election, calling him "a tax cutter" and "true fighter."
"This is an amazing state. And tomorrow we need you to go to the polls and send John Kennedy to the United States Senate. And that's why I'm down here," he said. "He's a great guy."
"We need John in Washington not only for the vote, we need for leadership and everything else but if you go there we'll win," Trump added. "Kennedy is a proven leader who's balanced -- which is amazing -- 16 budgets, returned millions of dollars to taxpayers."