By KIM CHANDLER, Associated Press
MONTGOMERY, Ala (AP) — Republican Katie Britt is looking to become the first woman elected to the U.S Senate from Alabama as she seeks to capture the seat opened by the retirement of GOP Sen. Richard Shelby. Britt faces Democratic nominee Will Boyd and Libertarian John Sophocleus in Tuesday’s race for the rare open Senate seat in Alabama.
Shelby, 88, is retiring after serving six terms in the U.S. Senate. Britt is Shelby’s former chief of staff and the former leader of the Business Council of Alabama, a business lobby. If elected, Britt will become the first woman to win election to the U.S. Senate from Alabama and will be the first Republican woman to hold one of the state’s Senate seats. The state’s previous female senators, both Democrats, had been appointed.
Britt, who won the GOP nomination after a hard-fought primary, has raised more than $10 million in the course of her Senate campaign. Boyd has raised $105,000 and Sophocleus did not raise enough funds to require filing a campaign finance report.
Boyd is the presiding bishop of Zion Ministries and pastor of St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church —a 162-year-old church in Florence, Alabama. He was the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor four years ago but lost to Republican Will Ainsworth. Boyd captured about 38% of the statewide vote in the 2018 lieutenant governor’s race.
Boyd also ran for the Senate in 2017 but lost the Democratic primary to Doug Jones, who went on to become the first Alabama Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate in a quarter of a century. Jones was the last Democrat to win statewide office in Alabama, but lost his reelection bid in 2020 to Republican Tommy Tuberville.
Sophocleus is a former economics instructor at Auburn University. The Libertarian candidate’s platform includes the abolishment of federal gun laws and expanded use of initiative and referendum. Libertarians are back on the ballot in Alabama after a 20-year-absence. Party leaders secured the needed signatures to get their candidates on the ballot for the first time since 2002.