A senate election in Louisiana today could be the make-or-break for some of the most controversial legislation expected in the soon-to-be, GOP controlled federal government. If Democrat Foster Campbell defeats Republican John Kennedy today, that means Democrats would only need one Republican on their side for a tie vote and two Republicans on their side to defeat any legislation (it’s worth noting that in the event of a tie, Vice President-elect Mike Pence would be the deciding vote, but as The Guardian explains, he’d actually have to be present). That’s why Democrats have been looking at this race as a last-ditch effort to keep Republicans from having a comfortable control of Congress.
The odds aren’t looking great for Democrats though. According to FiveThirtyEight, Republican Kennedy has a comfortable lead over Democrat Campbell—”55 percent to 37 percent, according to an average of four surveys conducted mostly or completely since Nov. 8.” Of course, FiveThirtyEight predicted Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton would almost certainly win the election, but the presidential race this time around was highly irregular and no poll shows the race closer than 14 percentage points.
Still, the race in Louisiana is a little different than it would be in another year too. The long-shot effort is getting national attention and resources, as reported by NBC News:
Money poured in from donors across the country — $2.5 million, according to [Campbell’s] final Federal Election Commission report. Phone banks sprang up in cities like San Diego and New York, and he received a number of out-of-state volunteers to help his campaign.
According to the campaign, Campbell’s volunteers have logged 400,000 phone calls, 350,000 text messages, 350,000 door knocks on behalf of the Democratic candidate.
Add to that, it’s a runoff election, meaning voter turnout will likely be low. It may be a long-shot, but if Democrats turn out strongly today, they could win one more seat in the Senate.