By MARY SELL, Alabama Daily News
Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon says he’s not favoring any GOP candidate in a special House primary runoff.
“As Speaker of the House, I am not directly involved in the Republican runoff campaign in House District 74,” McCutcheon told Alabama Daily News in a written statement Tuesday. “Because this race involves Republican candidates, various consultants who previously served on my 2018 team are involved with both candidates and their respective campaigns.”
McCutcheon’s statement was in response to a report in The Montgomery Independent in which Michael Fritz claimed the Speaker is supporting him over Charlotte Meadows in next month’s special GOP runoff for House District 74.
Fritz told the Independent that the Speaker is behind him and one of McCutcheon’s 2018 campaign strategists, Steve Raby, was making calls on Fritz’s behalf.
Last week, Fritz referred questions about the support to McCutcheon.
“The speaker can speak for himself — they’ve been very nice,” Fritz, an attorney, told Alabama Daily News last week.
McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, this week said the eventual Republican nominee will have his support in the general election, and they will also have at their disposal any resources he can provide.
“I have met with both runoff candidates and am encouraged by the quality and character of each one,” he said.
“… In my opinion, both Charlotte Meadows and Michael Fritz would make valuable additions to the Alabama House, and I wish both of them luck in their candidacies.”
Meadows, a former Montgomery Public Schools board member and current board chair of a Montgomery charter school, last week told Alabama Daily News that she did not know if McCutcheon was supporting Fritz.
“What matters is who the people in District 74 are supporting,” she said.
Meadows received 44% of the GOP primary vote last month; Fritz received 22%.
Scott Stone, a campaign consultant for Meadows and a 2018 senior strategist for the Speaker, said some special interests don’t want to see Meadows win.
“This is part of that effort to discredit her,” he said. “It’s not true, the Speaker is neutral in the race.”
Fitz said he didn’t know when speaking with the Independent that House leadership doesn’t normally get involved in primaries.
Fritz, an attorney, last week said he’s spent his adult life serving people in Montgomery.
“That’s what this should be about, someone who has for 20 plus years helped the community,” he said. “I can’t control who supports me and who doesn’t.”
Meadows has led the campaign contributions. As of their July 2 campaign finance reports, Meadows had almost $19,000 on hand, Fritz had about $4,300.
The runoff is Aug. 27, 2019 and the general election is Nov. 12. Rayford Mack is the lone Democrat running for the seat.