2002 United States Senate election in Louisiana

← 1996 November 5 and December 7, 2002 2008 →
Mary Landrieu official portrait.jpg
No image.svg
Nominee Mary Landrieu Suzanne Haik Terrell
Party Democratic Republican
Popular vote 638,654 596,642
Percentage 51.7% 48.3%

2002 United States Senate runoff election in Louisiana results map by parish.svg
Parish results

Landrieu:      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%

Terrell:      50–60%      60–70%

U.S. senator before election

Mary Landrieu

Elected U.S. Senator

Mary Landrieu

The 2002 United States Senate election in Louisiana was held on November 5, 2002. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu won re-election to a second term, although she did not earn 50% of the vote in the first round and was therefore forced into a runoff election with Republican Suzanne Haik Terrell, the Louisiana Elections Commissioner.

During the runoff, Landrieu was outspent three-to-one by Terrell, who also had prominent Republicans including President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney visit Louisiana to campaign on her behalf. Republicans, confident of victory having gained seats in the elections to the House of Representatives and to the Senate, solidifying control of the former and taking control of the latter, publicly called the election "Operation Icing on the Cake".[1][2] Some Democrats responded by calling their efforts "Operation Wipe that Smirk off of Bush's Face"[3] and dubbed Landrieu's subsequent run-off victory, "Operation Pie in the Face".[4]





Initial results

Louisiana United States Senate jungle primary election, November 5, 2002
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Mary Landrieu (Incumbent) 573,347 46.00%
Republican Suzanne Haik Terrell 339,506 27.24%
Republican John Cooksey 171,752 13.78%
Republican Tony Perkins 119,776 9.61%
Democratic Raymond Brown 23,553 1.89%
Independent Patrick E. "Live Wire" Landry 10,442 0.84%
Independent James Lemann 3,866 0.31%
Libertarian Gary D. Robbins 2,423 0.19%
Republican Ernest Edward Skillman, Jr. 1,668 0.13%
Turnout 1,246,333 100.00%

Debates (Jungle primary & runoff)


Source Ranking As of
Sabato's Crystal Ball[5] Lean D November 4, 2002


Landrieu pulled off what many considered to be an upset victory. The Republicans believed they would most likely win the race. Before the election many Republicans called the race operation icing on the cake. After Landrieu won the runoff Democrats dubbed her victory operation pie in the face. The race was close. In terms of rural parishes the vote was split fairly evenly. Landrieu did well in Caddo Parish home of Shreveport, and in East Baton Rouge Parish home of Baton Rouge. Ultimately though it was Landrieu's huge win in Orleans Parish home of New Orleans that pushed her over the finish line. Haik Terrell conceded defeat to Landrieu at 12:38 P.M. EST, congratulating Landrieu on her victory. Landrieu would go on to be reelected to a third term in 2008, but ultimately defeated in her bid for a fourth term in 2014.

Louisiana United States Senate election runoff, December 7, 2002
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Mary Landrieu (incumbent) 638,654 51.70% +1.53%
Republican Suzanne Haik Terrell 596,642 48.30% -1.53%
Majority 42,012 3.40% +3.06%
Turnout 1,235,296 100.00%
Democratic hold Swing

See also


  1. ^ Landrieu Faces Terrell for Senate in Louisiana Runoff Race Ms Magazine, December 6, 2002
  2. ^ Reversal of Fortune American Prospect, December 12, 2002
  3. ^ More thoughts on Louisiana victories Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine Daily Kos, December 8, 2002
  4. ^ Operation "Pie in the Face": Dems sweep LA Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine Daily Kos, December 8, 2002
  5. ^ "Senate Races". www.centerforpolitics.org. November 4, 2002. Archived from the original on November 18, 2002. Retrieved June 25, 2021.