By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
BIRMINGHAM—On Tuesday, November 4, 2014, four years of careful planning by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R from Anniston) and the Alabama Republican Party ended with a late night celebration as the GOP not only defended their Super Majority against fierce coordinated attacks by desperate Democratic Party challengers, but actually added Senate seats.
Alabama voters gave Republicans control of both Houses of the Alabama Legislature for the first time in the election of 2010. Not just control, but super majority control. Alabama Democrats have spent the last four years planning to take back control and they got their chance on Tuesday, November 4.
An inability to craft a coherent message and the specter of an unpopular Barack H. Obama (D) as President and the head of their Democratic Party was just too much for the long struggling Alabama Democratic Party to overcome. With 25 Republicans, just 8 Democrats, 1 Independent and 1 tossup seat in District 6 that most likely will go to the GOP it is likely that the Senate will run much more smoothly with fewer filibusters than anything we have seen ever in previous sessions.
A jubilant Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead said in a statement about the Senate Races: “The battle of the night was between Dr. Larry Stutts and Democrat incumbent Senator Roger Bedford, both vying for State Senate District 6. Dr. Stutts has defeated Sen. Bedford, and for the first time in decades Northwest Alabama will have a new senator. To top that, it is the first time ever Senate District 6 has elected a Republican.”
Chairman Armistead continued, “Dr. Stutts, a native of Colbert County, will also be joined in the Alabama Senate by fellow doctor Tim Melson of Lauderdale County. I am confident that with Senators Stutts and Melson representing northwest Alabama, the citizens in that area are going to see some great improvements in job creation and education….Northwest Alabama also elected a new Republican senator for Jackson, DeKalb and Madison Counties with the election of Steve Livingston to Senate District 8.”
Dr. Stutts leads 17,605 votes to 17,545 for Senator Bedford. Bedford was first elected in 1982. Only 60 votes separate the two candidates. If Stutts wins the recount, then Billy Beasley will be the last White Democrat serving in the Alabama Senate.
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R from Anniston) endured months of negative attacks…..none of which made even a dent in Marsh’s popularity. Sen. Marsh easily bested his Democratic opponent 17,629 (57 percent) to 13,160 (43 percent).
Marsh said on Tuesday, “Thank you to all who believed in me enough to show your support at the polls. I am proud to serve as your senator for another four years and am grateful to represent the people of such a wonderful State.”
In District 1 (Lauderdale, Limestone, Madison) Tim Melson (R) defeated Mike Curtis (D) for the open seat.
In District 2 (Limestone, Madison) incumbent Bill Holtzclaw (R) returns to the Senate with no opposition.
In District 3 (Limestone, Madison, Morgan) Arthur Orr (R) returns to the Senate unopposed.
In District 4 (Cullman, Lawrence, Marian, Winston) Paul Bussman (R) defeated Angelo Mancuso (D).
In District 5 (Jefferson, Tuscaloosa, Walker, Fayette, Winston) Greg Reed (R) returns to the Senate with no Democratic opponent.
In District 6 (Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Marion) Dr. Larry Stutts appears to have defeated longtime incumbent Roger Bedford, Jr. (D). Since the race is so close a recount is required by law.
In District 7 (Madison) incumbent Paul Sanford (R) defeated challenger Bryan Bennett (D).
In District 8 (Dekalb, Jackson, Madison) Steve Livingston (R) defeated Horace Clemmons (D).
In District 9 (Blount, Dekalb, Madison, Marshall) Clay Scofield (R) returns to the Senate unopposed.
In District 10 (Etowah, Cherokee, St. Clair, and Dekalb) incumbent Sen. Phil Williams defeated a challenge from former Senator Larry Means (D). Williams had defeated Means four years earlier when Means was under indictment for bribery and corruption charges in the bingo corruption trial.
In District 11 (St. Clair, Shelby, Talladega Counties) State Representative Jim McClendon (R from Springville) defeated Ron Crumpton (D). McClendon had earlier defeated incumbent Sen. Jerry Fielding from Sylacauga in the GOP Primary.
In District 12 (Calhoun, Clay, Talladega) incumbent Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R) defeated a challenge from Taylor Stewart (D).
In District 13 (Chambers, Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, Lee, Randolph) Sen. Gerald Dial (R) defeated both Darrell Turner (D) and former state Representative Bill Fuller (I).
In District 14 (Bibb, Chilton, Jefferson, Shelby, Hale) Cam Ward (R) returns to the Senate unopposed.
In District 15 (Jefferson, Talladega, Shelby) Slade Blackwell (R) returns to the Senate with no opponent.
In District 16 (Jefferson and Shelby) powerful Senate Rules Committee Chairman J.T. Jabo Waggoner (R) defeated challenger Cindy Bell (D).
In District 17 (Blount, Jefferson, St. Clair, Talladega) Shay Shelnutt (R) won a heavily contested Republican Primary and heads to the Senate without a Democratic opponent.
In District 18 (Jefferson) incumbent Rodger Smitherman (D) returns to the Senate with no Republican opponent.
In District 19 (Jefferson) Priscilla Dunn (D) returns to the Senate with no Republican opposition.
In District 20 (Jefferson) Linda Coleman (D) returns to the Senate unopposed.
In District 21 (Lamar, Tuscaloosa, Pickens Counties) incumbent Gerald Allen defeated challenger Phil Poole (D).
In District 22 (Baldwin, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Escambia, Mobile, Monroe, Washington) Greg Albritton (R) defeated Susan Smith (D) for the open seat.
In District 23 (Butler, Clarke, Conecuh, Dallas, Lowndes, Marengo, Monroe, Perry, Washington, Wilcox) Sen. Henry “Hank” Sanders (D) returns to the Senate with no GOP opponent.
In District 24 (Choctaw, Clarke, Greene, Hale, Marengo, Pickens, Sumter, Tuscaloosa) Bobby Singleton returns to the Senate (D) unopposed.
In District 25 (Elmore, Crenshaw and Montgomery Counties) incumbent Dick Brewbaker (R) had no Democratic opponent.
In District 26 (Montgomery County) Quinton Ross (D) returns to the Senate without facing a Republican opponent.
In District 27 (Lee, Russell, Tallapoosa) incumbent Tom Whatley (R) defeated Haylee Moss (D).
In District 28 (Barbour, Bullock, Henry, Houston, Lee, Macon, Russell) Billy Beasley (D) held off challenger John Savage (R).
In District 29 (Dale, Geneva, Houston) Harri Anne Smith (I) defeated challenger Melinda McClendon (R).
In District 30 (Autauga, Chilton, Tallapoosa, Elmore, Coosa) Clyde Chambliss, Jr. (R) defeated Bryan Morgan (I) for the open seat.
In District 31 (Coffee, Covington, Dale, Pike) incumbent Jimmy Holley (R) fought off a challenge from Larry Greenwood (D).
In District 32 (Baldwin County) incumbent Trip Pittman (R) defeated Kimberly McCuiston (I).
In District 33 (Mobile County) Vivian Figures (D) had no Republican opponent.
In District 34 (Mobile County) Rusty Glover (R) returns to the Senate without a Democratic challenger.
In District 35 (Mobile County) incumbent Bill Hightower defeated Beau Doolittle (D).