(Reuters) – Republicans appear poised to expand their Senate majority with a runoff election in Louisiana on Saturday that would cap big wins for their party in the Nov. 4 midterm elections.
Republican Representative Bill Cassidy is running against Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu, the top Democrat on the Senate Energy Committee, and has a comfortable lead in polls.
If he wins, he would be the ninth Republican to capture a previously Democratic seat. His victory would give Republicans 54 seats in the 100-member Senate, enough for a majority but not the 60 seats needed to avoid the tactical blocking procedure known as a filibuster. This means Republicans, who also control the U.S. House of Representatives, would have to work with Democrats to pass most legislation.
The runoff is being held because no candidate garnered more than 50 percent of the vote on Election Day. A RealClearPolitics average of polls in recent weeks shows Cassidy leading by more than 17 points.