Caleb Kleinpeter Might Be The Best News Of Election Night In Louisiana

You don’t really need me to go through the results of last night’s election cycle in Louisiana, because for the most part what happened was all the obvious stuff.

John Kennedy won re-election easily against 12 unqualified opponents. Kennedy picked up 62 percent of the vote. Interestingly enough, and we’ll get deeper into this later in the week, Gary Chambers finished second with 18 percent and Luke Mixon was third with 13 – which shows that Chambers is in a position to play a large role in the Louisiana Democrat Party’s future at the expense of the old-money white Democrat cabal that Mixon represented.

All of the congressional incumbents were re-elected. No surprise there.

Of the constitutional amendments, Nos. 2, 4 and 8 passed. Which isn’t a good result.

Tanner Magee, the Speaker Pro Tem of the Louisiana House of Representatives, got absolutely smoked 62-38 in a race for a seat on the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

Royce Duplessis beat Mandie Landry 53-47 in the District 5 Senate special-election race, proving that race-hustling works on Democrat voters like a charm (not that anybody ought to feel sorry for Mandie Landry).

But the biggest news of the night in Louisiana, in terms of an election actually changing something, is that Marine veteran and West Baton Rouge Parish councilman Caleb Kleinpeter took down state representative Jeremy Lacombe in the special election to fill the District 17 Senate seat opened when Rick Ward quit to become a lobbyist.

Kleinpeter won the race handily, besting Lacombe by a 51-42 margin. Another Republican, ob-gyn Kirk Rousset, finished third with 8 percent.

This, for conservatives, is a flip of a senate seat. Ward, a former Democrat, was known as a RINO who was happy to raise taxes and take a powder on social issues and the size and scope of government, and the political machine he represented had dominated that area of the state, a swath of territory stretching from the Felicianas west to the Atchafalaya Basin, as one of the last Blue Dog areas left in Louisiana. Ward was essentially a Blue Dog Democrat who made himself more palatable by putting an “R” next to his name, something Lacombe couldn’t bring himself to do.

But Kleinpeter has been very open about his intent to serve as a hard-core, down-the-line conservative. And if that can win easily over a Usual Suspect like Lacombe it’s an indication the voters of the 17th Senate District have moved to the right.

And on a night when a rightward move among the electorate nationally was supposed to materialize but didn’t, it’s notable that it happened in District 17.

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