Ryan Gatti

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Ryan Eugene Gatti


Louisiana State Senator for District 36 (Bienville, Bossier, Claiborne, and Webster parishes)
In office
January 11, 2016 – January 2020
Preceded by Henry Burns
Succeeded by Robert Mills

Born June 10, 1974
Bossier City, Louisiana
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Susan Lockhart Gatti
Religion Southern Baptist

Ryan Eugene Gatti (born June 10, 1974)[1] is an attorney from Bossier City, Louisiana, who is a Moderate Republican former member of the Louisiana State Senate for District 36, which encompasses Bossier, Webster, Bienville, and Claiborne parishes in the northwestern portion of the state. On January 11, 2016, he succeeded fellow Moderate Republican Robert Roy Adley, who was term-limited after thirteen years in the Senate.

In his bid for a second term in the primary on October 12, 2019, Gatti placed second in a three-candidate field with 12,882 votes (38 percent). His proclaimed conservative opponent, Robert Mills, who carried many party endorsements, including U.S. Senator John Neely Kennedy and U.S. President Donald Trump, finished first in the primary with 16,305 votes (48 percent). In third place was Democrat Mattie Preston, who drew 4,976 votes (15 percent).[2] In the runoff contest, Mills polled 22,050 votes (56 percent) to unseat Gatti, who polled 17,209 votes (44 percent). Gatti's close friend, Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, in that same election turned back the Republican challenge waged by Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone.

In 2015, Gatti had narrowly defeated conservative Republican Henry Burns, a retired military officer, Bossier City businessman, and a departing two-term member of the Louisiana House of Representatives, originally from Shongaloo in Webster Parish. Gatti polled 14,023 votes (50.6 percent) to Burns' 13,698 (49.4 percent).[3]

In his 2015 campaign, Gatti ran as a strong intra-party critic of term-limited and failed presidential candidate, Governor Bobby Jindal. He is also a close friend of Governor John Bel Edwards, whom he met at the Louisiana State University Law Center in Baton Rouge. Edwards even campaigned in 2014 at Gatti's law office..

Gatti graduated in 1992 from Airline High School in Bossier City. He was in Haiti on a mission trip at the time of his election to the state Senate. He ran unsuccessfully in 2003 for the state House of Representatives]], losing to incumbent Republican Jane Holland Smith, a former Bossier Parish school superintendent.

In 2017, Gatti's brother, Robert Hal "Robbie" Gatti, Jr. (born March 1970), lost a special runoff election for the District 8 seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives to fill the seat vacated by U.S. Representative Mike Johnson of Benton, Louisiana. Raymond Crews was elected to succeed Johnson. He polled 3,845 votes (64 percent) to Gatti's 2,150 (36 percent).[4]

Jeffrey Dennis Sadow, a political science professor at LSU in Shreveport who writes a column on state and local politics, questions Gatti's commitment to fiscal conservatism, noting the lawmaker's close friendship with John Bel Edwards. Sadow claims that in his successful race in 2015, Gatti "adopted the standard Democrat playbook to eke out his win: articulate conservative preferences on social issues to mask his other big government views."[5] Like the governor, Gatti opposes school choice initiatives popular with many conservatives. In 2016, Gatti scored the lowest of all Republican senators in regard to taxation, spending, and regulations, even lower than several Democratic colleagues. Then in 2017, Sadow noted that Gatti reversed course and scored among the highest of Republican senators on fiscal issues.[5]

Conservative radio talk show host Moon Griffon, who broadcasts statewide from Lafayette, has long criticized Gatti's personal association with Governor John Bel Edwards, a relationship which Griffon claims impacts how Gatti voted on key legislative issues.[6]

References

  1. Ryan Gatti, June 1974. Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved on November 22, 2015.
  2. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, October 12, 2019.
  3. Results for Election Date: 11/21/2015. Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved on November 22, 2015.
  4. Election Results. Louisiana Secretary of State (April 29, 2017). Retrieved on May 2, 2017.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Jeffrey D. Sadow (February 21, 2018). Gatti’s record may hurt his reelection. Minden Press-Herald. Retrieved on February 22, 2018.
  6. The Moon Griffon Show, March 26, 2018.