BOSSIER PARISH, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Incumbent Louisiana District 36 Sen. Ryan Gatti is headed to a runoff in November with fellow Republican Robert Mills.
Mills garnered 48% of the vote, while Gatti totaled 38%. Democratic candidate Mattie Preston received 15% of the vote. Mills’ percentage was not enough to win the race outright, so the two Republican candidates will head to a November 16 runoff.
“We always knew there would probably be a runoff, it’s not uncommon with three people in the race. And then with the amount of negativity in this race – and they had to be negative because Robert’s not from the district. So they couldn’t really elevate what he had done, so the special interests and the PACs from south Louisiana just kind of targeted me. They could have targeted Mattie Preston, but they picked me.”
The race for the state Senate seat has seen plenty of conservative hardball politics with Mills receiving the endorsement of U.S. Senator John Kennedy and U.S. Congressman Mike Johnson.
On Saturday night, Mills attributed his campaign’s success in forcing a runoff with Gatti to his campaign’s efforts to show the need for change in the district.
“There’s no question that change is required in Senate District 36, so we were forceful about putting that forward and we didn’t have to go too deep into the weeds of why, but if you’re gonna have improved insurance rates in Louisiana, improved insurance coverage, improved legal climate, and improved fiscal controls, you’ve got to change the people that were in process, and so we’re gonna make that change here in Senate District 36 as well as in a number of political races around the state.”
Gatti, who is backed by the NRA and the Louisiana Federation of Teachers & School Employees says he plans to help voters get to know his opponent as they head toward the November runoff.
“I think folks don’t know Robert Mills, so we’re going to introduce people to him.”
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