2004 United States Senate election in Louisiana

← 1998 November 2, 2004 2010 →
Nominee David Vitter Chris John John Kennedy
Party Republican Democratic Democratic
Popular vote 943,014 542,150 275,821
Percentage 51.03% 29.34% 14.92%

Parish results
Vitter:      30–40%      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%
John:      30–40%      40–50%      50–60%

U.S. senator before election

John Breaux

Elected U.S. Senator

David Vitter

The 2004 United States Senate election in Louisiana was held on November 2, 2004. Incumbent Democratic Senator John Breaux decided to retire after three terms in office. Republican Representative David Vitter won the open seat with 51% of the primary vote and avoided a runoff, which would be scheduled on December 4, becoming the first Louisiana Republican elected to the U.S. Senate since 1876, and the first ever to be popularly elected.


Democratic Party

Republican Party



Breaux, considered the most popular politician in Louisiana, endorsed Chris John prior to the jungle primary.[1]

During the campaign, Vitter was accused by a member of the Louisiana Republican State Central Committee of having had a lengthy affair with a prostitute in New Orleans. Vitter responded that the allegation was "absolutely and completely untrue" and that it was "just crass Louisiana politics." The allegation later turned out to be true.[2]

Vitter won the Louisiana jungle primary with 51% of the vote, avoiding the need for a runoff. John received 29.2% of the vote and Kennedy (no relation to the Massachusetts Kennedys), took 14.9%.

Vitter won at least a plurality in 55 of Louisiana's 64 parishes. John carried nine parishes, all but two of which (Iberville and Orleans) are part of the House district he represented.

Kennedy changed parties and unsuccessfully ran as Republican in 2008 against Louisiana's senior Senator, Democrat Mary Landrieu, but he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016 upon Vitter's retirement.

Vitter was the first Republican in Louisiana to be popularly elected as a U.S. Senator. The previous Republican Senator, William Pitt Kellogg, was chosen by the state legislature in 1876, in accordance with the process used before the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution went into effect in 1914.[3]


Source Ranking As of
Sabato's Crystal Ball[4] Lean R (flip) November 1, 2004


Louisiana United States Senate election, 2004
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican David Vitter 943,014 51.03%
Democratic Chris John 542,150 29.34%
Democratic John Neely Kennedy 275,821 14.92%
Democratic Arthur A. Morrell 47,222 2.56%
Independent Richard M. Fontanesi 15,097 0.82%
Independent R. A. "Skip" Galan 12,463 0.67%
Democratic Sam Houston Melton, Jr. 12,289 0.66%
Majority 400,864 21.69%
Turnout 1,848,056 100%
Republican gain from Democratic Swing


Vitter won reelection in 2010 in spite of allegations surrounding solicitations of prostitutes. He then ran for Governor of Louisiana in 2015, but lost to Democrat John Bel Edwards. After conceding defeat in the gubernatorial election, Vitter announced that he would not run for a third term in 2016. However, the open seat was won by John Neely Kennedy, the second losing Democratic candidate from the 2004 race. In the interim, Kennedy had switched to the Republican Party and unsuccessfully challenged Democratic U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu in 2008.

See also


  1. ^ "Online NewsHour | Vote 2004 | Key Races | Louisiana Senate Race". Archived from the original on 2004-12-07.
  2. ^ Shailagh Murray, "Senator's Number on 'Madam' Phone List", Washington Post, July 10, 2007
  3. ^ Rudin, Ken (November 1, 2004). "Final Call: Kerry Wins Narrow Electoral Margin; GOP Gains in House, Senate". NPR. Retrieved April 30, 2008.
  4. ^ "The Final Predictions". Sabato's Crystal Ball. Retrieved May 2, 2021.