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BREAKING NEWS: Democrat wins longtime GOP seat in Louisiana

May 3, 2008 |  9:55 pm

Here's a Saturday night news lead that will spark smiles on the faces of Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean and a bunch of other Democratic leaders for weeks to come. From the Bloomberg News Service:

"A Louisiana Democrat won a U.S. House seat that Republicans had held for more than 20 years, expanding the Democratic majority in Congress and demonstrating surging party strength in Republican strongholds."

The 6th congressional district, centered around Baton Rouge, had been in GOP hands since the mid-1970s. It came open early this year when Rep. Richard Baker, who first won the seat in 1986, announced he was quitting the House to become a lobbyist.

Going into Saturday's vote, Democrat Don Cazayoux had been slightly favored, in part because the GOP candidate, Woody Jenkins, had problems raising money. And the race played out true to form, with Cazayoux edging Jenkins, 49% to 46%.

The Democratic establishment couldn't care less about the margin. Instead, the crowing will instantly begin about how Cazayoux's victory is another strong sign that the party is destined for big things this election year.

Democrats previously were thrilled when, in early March, one of their brethren claimed the seat in Illinois that former House speaker Dennis Hastert gave up. And in April in Mississippi, a Democrat won the most votes and forced a runoff for a House seat a Republican occupied for 13 years.

-- Don Frederick