Runoff results: Mills wins senate seat, Edwards keeps office

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Robert Mills and his family at his victory speech during his election night party Nov. 16 in Bossier City. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

The Nov. 16 runoff election saw a new state senator representing part of Bossier while Gov. John Bel Edwards barely hung on to his office.

Robert Mills is the new senator for Louisiana’s district 36.

Mills (R-Benton) defeated incumbent Ryan Gatti (R-Bossier City) by winning 56% of the vote. Mills won big in Bossier, taking more than 60% of the vote, collecting 13,357 votes to Gatti’s 8,494.

In the Oct. 12 primary election, Mills had 48% of the vote while Gatti had 38%. Mattie Preston (D-Minden) was third with 14%.

During his victory speech, Mills said the election was about making the state a place where the next generation can grow and prosper

“Good grief, we have got to do something different. Change is required and I think we made some progress in that tonight,” said Mills. “This is not about us, this about these children.”

He added that the election was “fun” and that he was confident in the result because it was in “God’s hands.” He added that the next four years will be very special.

“If we want change, we have to go vote and make that happen. Change is occurring today in Senate Dist. 36,” Mills added.

He noted that the district’s size and uniqueness means there are diverse needs and they would be paid attention to.

“Education is a key component, early childhood education is going to be truly the answer to our future, to bringing these children up,” said Mills. “Spread Louisiana’s resources to take care of as many people as we can.”

He said the first step would be to fix the state’s legal environment 

“We’ve got to stop the lawsuit abuse, that’s job No. 1,” Mills said.

Mills ran on a platform of bringing change to Baton Rouge and focusing on fiscal reform, education improvements and improving the state’s legal climate.

His supporters cited Gatti’s connection to Edwards and voting record showed he wasn’t a true conservative, and he was partly to blame for high insurance rates among other issues. Gatti’s campaign claimed that Mills was an outsider and was moved into the area by special interest groups.

Philip Rodgers is the new Bossier Parish Police Juror for District 3. He defeated Jim Viola 59% to 41%, respectively.

In the major statewide elections, Democrat Edwards narrowly defeated Republican businessman Eddie Rispone 51% to 49%, with the election coming down to just more than 40,000 votes.

Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin kept his office by defeating Democrat Gwen Collins-Greenup 59% to 41%.

This story is still developing. Comments from local candidates will be added.