- Associated Press - Monday, December 1, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Roger Bedford, for decades one of the most prominent Democrats in the Alabama Senate, conceded defeat after a Monday recount showed he narrowly lost a bid for an eighth term.

Secretary of State Jim Bennett said that the automatic recount showed that Republican Larry Stutts bested Bedford by 70 votes. The Democrat’s defeat was one of the major upsets of the 2014 election that saw Republicans build on their existing supermajority in the Alabama Legislature.

Bedford posted a Facebook message on Monday congratulating Stutts on his victory.

“We are closing the chapter of service and hard work in the state senate, but our story of dedication to helping our neighbors and to shaping a brighter future for our children is not complete. Maudie and I look to our future with excitement and anticipation because we believe God will now open a new chapter in our lives,” Bedford wrote.

Certified election returns showed Stutts defeating Bedford by 66 votes. The close margin triggered an automatic recount which took place Monday. Bennett said the recount showed that Stutts increased his margin of victory to 70 votes.

Stutts, a physician from Tuscumbia, is a political newcomer, and said he was humbled by the support of voters in the northwest Alabama district.

“I’m thankful that the process is over. I had confidence in the integrity of the election process,” Stutts said.

Bedford was first elected to the Alabama Senate in 1982. He became the chairman of the powerful General Fund budget committee. He unsuccessfully sought the offices of attorney general and U.S. senator. Bedford survived bouts with cancer, a broken neck and an infection that cost him the loss of an eye.

The 35-member Alabama Senate will consist of 26 Republicans, eight Democrats and one independent.

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