The challenger maintained a lead all evening in the runoff for the Louisiana State Senate District 36 seat, and ultimately Robert Mills (R-Benton) prevailed against incumbent Ryan Gatti (R-Bossier City).
Mills had the support of the Republican state leadership and it was too much for Gatti to overcome.
With 100% of precincts reporting, the votes tabulated were:
17209 Ryan Gatti (REP) 44%
22050 Robert Mills (REP) 56%
Robert Mills made a victory speech just before 10:00 p.m. Saturday evening:
‘This district, as big as it is, as unique as it is, has a remarkable, large and diverse people and a diverse group of needs. We’re going to pay attention to all that. Education is a key component — early childhood education is going to be truly the answer to our future,” Mills said.
Meanwhile, incumbent Ryan Gatti, conceded defeat. He related the story of Republican leaders coming to him two years ago, saying:
“‘Senator Gatti, we’re going to spend a million dollars against you, we’re going to ruin your name and even if we have to move somebody in, we’re going to do it.’ And I said, ‘give me half that, and I’ll quit right now,'” Gatti said with a smile. “I knew my time was limited. We never missed a day. We worked very hard. We drafted 62 bills, 21 became law.”