Northeast Arkansas Voters Pick GOP Candidate For State Senate

Jan 15, 2014

John Cooper

Republican John Cooper has won a northeast Arkansas state Senate seat, giving Republicans an extra seat in the Legislature in a race that was viewed as an early bellwether for this year's general election.

Cooper defeated Democratic nominee Steve Rockwell and replaces Democratic state Sen. Paul Bookout.

Bookout resigned last year after he was fined by the Ethics Commission for spending thousands in campaign funds on personal items such as clothing and theater equipment.

Complete but unofficial reports showed Cooper winning 57 percent of the vote.

The race had focused primarily on the compromise plan to expand Medicaid approved by the Legislature last year.

Cooper vowed if elected to defund the "private option" plan when the Legislature convenes next month, while Rockwell had promised to continue the program.