GOP challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy was the top vote-getter in today’s open primary in Louisiana, but he did not top 50 percent in his bid to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu. The reason? The presence in the race of Tea Party spoiler Rob Maness.

With a quarter of the votes in, Cassidy (42 percent) and Landrieu (40 percent) are headed for a runoff. Maness, who ran to Cassidy’s right, is drawing 14 percent of the vote, which is what pre-election polls indicated. If Maness had dropped out when it became clear he didn’t have a chance, Louisiana would have elected a Republican senator tonight.

Cassidy should have a fairly easy time winning the runoff next month, but nothing is ever certain. If something blows up in the next few weeks that costs Cassidy this race, the Tea Party will be to blame.

In other Bayou State election news, it looks like Vance Romance, the Kissing Congressman, will not be returning to Washington for the LA-5. There will be a runoff between Jamie Mayo, the Democrat, and either Ralph Abraham or Zach Dasher, the Duck Dynast. It’s too early yet to say who will meet octogenarian cock-o’-the-walk Edwin Edwards in the runoff for LA-6. Republican Garret Graves has a big lead, but populous East Baton Rouge Parish, hometown of two other GOP challengers, hasn’t reported in yet.

(All Louisiana election results continuously updated on the Secretary of State’s website.)

UPDATE: The LA-6 runoff will be EWE vs. Garret Graves. Graves will probably win, but Edwards being on the ballot will help Landrieu get out the black vote in that populous district. With only 10 precincts (of 845) left to report in LA-5, Ralph Abraham is squeaking by the Duck Dynasty candidate Zach Dasher, but this one is going to go down to the wire.

UPDATE.2: Looks like no way for Dasher to make up the gap. Abraham to the runoff by a whisker. Given the demographics and turnout patterns of this district, this almost certainly means Ralph Abraham will be the next Congressman from the LA-5. Let’s hope he does a better job of keeping his married hands off his friend’s wife than his sleazy predecessor did.

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