MONTGOMERY — Incumbent state Sen. Larry Stutts, R-Tuscumbia, is in a runoff with Steve Lolley after receiving 47.1 percent of the vote Tuesday night, according to unofficial results.
Lolley received 28.6 percent and Eric Aycock received 24.2 percent.
Stutts spent about $72,300 on the Senate District 6 primary, according to campaign finance records. Lolley, of Guin in Marion County, spent about $8,700. Stutts has $164,000 on hand; Lolley has about $1,800.
Lolley, 52, a retired banker who had little name recognition going into the primary, credits 40- and 50-hour weeks campaigning and going door to door for his spot in the runoff.
He said his status as a retiree means he can work full time for the district.
Stutts said runoffs aren’t unusual.
“With a three-person field, it’s always difficult to win outright,” he said Wednesday.
Stutts, 63, said for the next six weeks he’ll campaign on the conservative agendas of the state Senate, and recent record low unemployment rates.
Whoever wins the July 17 runoff will be part of one of the more interesting Statehouse contests in November.
Democrat Johnny Mack Morrow, of Red Bay, gave up the House seat he’s had since 1990 to run for the Senate. He has significant name recognition in the Shoals.
Morrow has already spent nearly $60,000 on the race and had about $43,000 on hand, per his latest campaign finance report. He’s also expected to have support from several Montgomery interest groups.
Stutts isn’t a stranger to tight races. In 2014, he defeated by 70 votes longtime incumbent Roger Bedford, a Russellville Democrat, to take the district that includes all of Colbert and Franklin counties, the western and southern portions of Lauderdale County, and northern Lawrence County.
In his first year in Montgomery, Stutts sponsored a bill that has been used against him in this race. It would have repealed a requirement that insurers cover at least 48 hours of hospital care after childbirth.
That 1999 requirement, Rose’s Law, was created after Rose Church, a patient of Stutts, died a few days after giving birth. She’d been released from the hospital 36 hours after delivering her daughter.
Stutts abandoned his bill after backlash, and it never received a vote.
Church’s daughter, Logan Church, is now 19 and went to work for Aycock as his campaign manager in an effort to defeat Stutts, according to Al.com.
Last month, Stutts said filing the bill was a mistake. But he still believes the length of hospital stays shouldn’t be legislatively mandated.
On Wednesday, Stutts said he’d continue to run a positive campaign.
“I have not said one negative thing about either of my opponents, and don’t intend to,” he said.
Lolley, too, said he didn’t plan to criticize.
“I’m trying to let people vote for who I am, not necessarily who the other person is,” Lolley said.