By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
BIRMINGHAM—Will the Alabama State Senate have 8 Democrats or 9?
That question remains undetermined as local officials prepare to count provisional ballots on Tuesday in the race between longtime Senator Roger Bedford (D from Russellville) and Dr. Larry Stutts (R from Tuscumbia).
With 95 of 95 precincts reporting, Dr. Larry Stutts has 17,605 votes, while Sen. Roger Bedford, Jr. has 17,545. Only 60 votes separate the two men meaning that provisional votes must be counted by election officials.
Sen. Bedford told WHNT’s Catherine Awasthi that: “Larry and I, neither one of us are contesting the election at this point at all. It is just following the law.”
Bedford said that he is at peace with whatever is the result: “My wife Maudie and I, we prayed a lot about it, and we’re at peace.”
They will count them the provisional ballots and then certify the election.
It is our understanding that because the margin of victory is so low that whatever the outcome of the provisional ballot count there will be an automatic recount that should occur on Friday.
Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead said in a statement, “Dr. Larry Stutts narrowly defeated long-time liberal Democrat Senator Roger Bedford from northwest Alabama, who was first elected to the Senate during Ronald Reagan’s first term as president. The vote margin was only 60 votes out of the more than 35,000 cast. State law requires a recount if the margin of victory is than than one-half of one percent, as is the case with this race. Dr. Stutts, a native of Colbert County, has the distinction of being the only Republican to defeat an incumbent Democrat senator this year. Most political observers thought this an impossible task, but we saw something very special in Dr. Stutts when we recruited him to enter this race. I knew from the day Dr. Stutts qualified to run against Sen. Bedford that we had the right candidate at the right time. ALGOP provided the necessary support to Dr. Stutts to ensure this historic victory. Stutts is the first Republican elected to Senate District 6, which includes Colbert and Franklin County and portions of Marion, Lauderdale and Lawrence Counties.”
The day after the apparent victory Dr. Stutts said on Facebook, “I am so thankful to the people of this district for their support and for their prayers. When we began this campaign, many refused to believe that we could defeat a long time incumbent that would outspend us 5:1. Well, the people of this district sent a message tonight that has silenced those doubters. I look forward to delivering for Northwest Alabamians as their State Senator.”
Sen. Bedford said, “I’m proud of my record of service, we’ve done a lot to help people,” he said. “If it’s the Good Lord’s will that we continue on in the senate I’m fine with that, at peace with it. But, if it’s time for Roger Bedford and Maudie to turn the page, hey, we’re okay with that too… We’re both cancer survivors and we’ve got a life ahead of us, and we want it to be done in God’s will.”