HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — One of the biggest questions facing voters in Alabama in the 2022 midterm elections — who will replace longtime U.S. Senator Richard Shelby?

Shelby, a Republican, is retiring after 36 years in the Senate. Katie Britt, a former Shelby aide is the Republican nominee to replace him. Democrats have nominated Dr. Will Boyd, a Florence-based pastor.

Britt won a hard-fought primary and has a huge financial advantage over Boyd. The latest Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports showing her having raised $8.99 million since March 2021, with $1.19 million still on hand. Boyd’s latest report from June shows he’s raised $54,315 since January and had $920 on hand. The last Democrat to win statewide office, Sen. Doug Jones, lost his reelection bid in 2020 to political newcomer Republican Tommy Tuberville.

But Boyd, the former college professor lists reasons for his optimism. It starts with voter enthusiasm, he says. He told News 19 that national polling data shows voter enthusiasm is on the side of Democrats.

“I’m expecting a very high turnout,” Boyd said Tuesday. “You know we can get into major opponents and funding of opponents on other sides of the aisle, we can talk about what the Libertarians may have, what the Republicans may have, what the write-ins may have, but in reality, money cannot buy the level of enthusiasm that we’ve seen.”

Boyd points to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision on abortion, overturning Roe v. Wade, as a catalyst for voters.

”We’re seeing where Republicans, Independents, Democrats, and all others have been coming up to me saying you know we have certain strong feelings to the left, to the right, but we don’t appreciate the government making so much of an overreach,” Boyd said. “We don’t appreciate the government stepping into things that are private, things that relate to our health care.”

Boyd said he is concerned about life not only inside the womb but outside.

“I’m concerned about people who are not able to have hot meals unless they go to school,” he said. “I’m concerned about the high poverty levels in Alabama that we have. I’m concerned about the number of women in many Congressional Districts across our state who don’t have access to health care. I’m concerned about the fact that we have people challenged by a grocery tax, a regressive type of tax.”

“I’m concerned on a number of levels about life,” Boyd said. “We have a high infant mortality rate, a high maternity mortality rate.”

Boyd points to national Democrats’ recent success in passing measures to help the environment, ensure reliable microchip production, provide health care for soldiers exposed to burn pits, and efforts to protect voting rights. He said the legislative wins are a clear sign Democrats can govern effectively and can attract voters.  

He plans to keep meeting Alabama voters to Election Day.

“I’m making sure I go to every county I can,” Boyd said. “That’s why if you check my Facebook feed, my Twitter feed, you’ll see I’m in a different county every day, every week. We’re trying to our best to make sure they’re being heard.

“What people are concerned about everywhere I speak, whether they’re Republicans or Democrats or even Independents, Libertarians, people want someone who will listen,” he concluded. “They want a voice, and that’s all I’m asking Alabama for, give me six years to be your voice.”