Democrats are taking the long view while pledging a comeback in Arkansas despite big losses statewide Tuesday night. The mood at a Democratic watch party in Little Rock went from excited, to tense, to somber as Hillary Clinton’s chances of victory diminished. Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Vincent Insalaco said despite a loss in the U.S. Senate race and several losses in the state legislature, state Democrats can rebuild .
“We have become a two-party state,” he said. “Not a default party [state]. Whether it’s default ‘R’ or default ‘D’. Rebuilding that process, it’s just simply going to take several cycles,” said Insalaco.
Democrat Susan Inman lost a State House race in west Little Rock to incumbent Republican Jim Sorvillo. She agrees with Insalaco, that the party will bounce back.
“It does not happen overnight. It didn’t get taken away from us overnight. We’re going to build it back,” Inman said.
And Insalaco said Arkansas Democrats’ message will have to focus on economics.
“I think the best message we have to send in Arkansas is that the most economically successful states in the country are also the most progressive. I would like for those jobs to come here,” Insalaco said.
Arkansas Republicans won most major state House and Senate races.
In the state Senate, Democratic incumbent Sen. David Burnett lost to Republican challenger, State Rep. Dave Wallace for an east Arkansas seat.
Incumbent Republican State Sen. Jane English defended her North Pulaski County seat against Democratic challenger Jon Woodson.
Democratic Sen. Eddie Cheatham was reelected, holding off Libertarian Elvis Presley to maintain his southeast Arkansas seat.
State Sen. Bobby Pierce lost his south Arkansas seat to Republican challenger Trent Garner.
With the victory of attorney Will Bond over Libertarian Jacob Mosier, Democrats held onto a state Senate seat in west Little Rock being vacated by Sen. David Johnson.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the victor of the Garner/Pierce race.