(AP, via Fox News.)

ABBEVILLE, La. — Unofficial election returns show that Republican Jonathan Perry has narrowly defeated Democrat Nathan Granger in the race to fill a vacant state Senate seat, possibly giving the GOP control of the Senate.

The Louisiana Secretary of State reported on its website Saturday night that Perry received 52 percent of the vote to 48 percent for Granger, with all 106 precincts reporting. Election officials said the results still must be certified and they can be contested until Feb. 28. ….

The Senate is currently split between 19 Republicans and 19 Democrats, so the special election has been closely watched because the winner of the vacant 26th District seat will determine the majority party. If Perry’s win is certified, it will be the first time the GOP has controlled the chamber since Reconstruction.

Last night, a friend suggested to me that the election of Barack Obama may have been the best thing to happen to the Republican Party since, well, Lincoln.