Last night, Republican John Cooper defeated Democrat Steve Rockwell in the special Senate District 21 election. Cooper garnered over 1,000 votes more than Rockwell, winning by a margin of just over 14 percent — a landslide in a special election.
Here’s the final tally:
John Cooper: 4,314
Steve Rockwell: 3,227
After the final results were announced, Cooper thanked his supporters in a statement to The Arkansas Project:
I’m just so appreciative of the support. This is a grassroots win. We’ve been supported very well by people we’ve met at the doors. This is a win across the board. We’ve had business owners that have supported us here and there’s’ been people of all ages and all interests. I just really feel so humbled that the community has responded to our message as they have.
Cooper also said his victory sends a clear message about the “private option:”
Well, I think our opponent made [this election] about the private option and obviously it’s been rejected.
As for what’s first on his agenda in the senate, Cooper said “Get sworn in.”
Cooper’s victory comes despite being outspent by more than 3-to-1 in a district that had never before elected a Republican. His victory speaks volumes about the power of conservative principles.
We’ll have more analysis of the Senate District 21 race this week and what it means for the future of the “private option.” Suffice it to say, Cooper is right: Rockwell fully embraced the “private option” and made it a cornerstone of his entire campaign, at least in the final weeks. And then, in the first general legislative election since the passage of the PO, a traditionally blue district that includes two large regional hospitals decisively rejected the scare tactics and the unworkable math presented by Steve Rockwell and Mike Beebe. Voters sent a clear message to the legislature: the people of Arkansas don’t want anything to do with Obamacare, regardless of how it’s relabeled.