Will Boyd (Alabama)
Will Boyd is an Alabama politician and minister who made several unsuccessful bids for federal and state office between 2016 and 2022. He positioned himself as a progressive Democrat, supporting policies like Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and criminal justice reform. Though he secured the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in 2022, he lost decisively in the general election.
Early Life and Education
Will Boyd was born in Florence, South Carolina in 1971. He graduated from Mayo High School in his hometown. In 1994, Boyd earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of South Carolina. He went on to obtain a Master of Business Administration from Regis University in 2003.
Boyd then pursued multiple doctoral degrees – a Doctor of Religion from Christian Bible College in 2003, a Doctor of Organization and Management from Capella University in 2007, and a Doctor of Psychology from St. James the Elder Theological Seminary in 2015.
Before entering politics, Boyd worked as the patriarch and metropolitan archbishop of Zion Ministries. He also served as pastor of St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church and chancellor of St. James the Elder Theological Seminary.
2016 House Campaign
In 2016, Boyd ran for Alabama’s 5th Congressional District seat held by Republican incumbent Mo Brooks. Brooks defeated Boyd decisively, 66.7% to 33.2%.
2017 Special Senate Election
After Jeff Sessions resigned from the U.S. Senate to become Attorney General, Alabama held a special election in 2017 to fill his seat. Boyd entered the Democratic primary but only earned 4.9% of the vote, losing to Doug Jones who went on to win the general election against Roy Moore.
2018 Lieutenant Governor Campaign
In 2018, Boyd secured the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor of Alabama. He faced Republican Will Ainsworth in the general election. Ainsworth defeated Boyd by over 20 points, 61.3% to 38.7%.
2022 Senate Campaign
For the 2022 U.S. Senate election in Alabama, Boyd again sought the Democratic nomination. He won a three-way primary with 63.7% of the vote, defeating Brandaun Dean and Lanny Jackson.
In the general election, Boyd faced Republican Katie Britt. Britt, a former chief of staff to retiring Senator Richard Shelby, defeated Boyd in a landslide. She received 66.6% of the vote compared to just 30.9% for Boyd.
Positions and Campaign Themes
During his 2022 Senate campaign, Boyd expressed support for progressive policies including Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and criminal justice reform. He emphasized his working-class background and desire to be a “voice for the voiceless” in Alabama. However, Britt’s messaging resonated more in the conservative state.
Election Results Summary
While he made five runs for office between 2016 and 2022, Boyd did not win any general elections. His sole victory came in the 2022 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.
Boyd lost general election bids for:
- U.S. Senate in 2022
- Lieutenant Governor in 2018
- U.S. House in 2016
- U.S. Senate special election primary in 2017
Boyd failed to crack 40% of the vote in any of his four general election losses.
During his 2022 Senate campaign, Boyd faced accusations of plagiarism when his campaign website copied word-for-word sections from other sites without attribution. Boyd said it was an oversight by staff.
Campaign Finance Issues
Boyd was also criticized for continuing to fundraise after decisively losing the 2022 primary. He said donations would retire campaign debt, but finance reports showed little existing debt.
Faith has played a major role throughout Boyd’s life and career. He served as a pastor and bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church for over 20 years. During his political campaigns, he emphasized his background in the church.
Boyd and his wife Vivian have been married since 1994. They have two adult children together.
Legacy and Impact
While never achieving electoral success, Boyd’s repeated campaigns aimed to bring progressive policies into the mainstream conversation in Alabama. He gave voice to issues like Medicare for All and criminal justice reform that otherwise received little attention in the conservative state.
After his lopsided defeat in 2022, Boyd’s political future remains uncertain. At just 51 years old, he could conceivably make another statewide run. However, his credibility has been damaged by repeated losses and controversies. Boyd may choose to continue focusing on his ministry work rather than face further defeats in the electoral arena. Regardless, his campaigns ensured Alabama progressives had representation during a time of Republican dominance in the state.
Q: Where is Will Boyd originally from?
A: Boyd was born in Florence, South Carolina in 1971. He later relocated to Alabama.
Q: What was Boyd’s most successful political campaign?
A: Boyd’s highest vote percentage came in the 2022 Democratic Senate primary, which he won with 63.7% of the vote. However, he lost decisively in the general election.
Q: What is Boyd’s religious background?
A: Boyd has long served as a pastor and bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. His faith has been central to his personal life and political identity.
Q: How many times did Boyd run for office?
A: Between 2016 and 2022, Boyd made five unsuccessful runs for Congress, U.S. Senate, and statewide office in Alabama.
Q: What were some of Boyd’s key policy positions?
A: As a progressive Democrat, Boyd supported priorities like Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, raising the minimum wage, and criminal justice reform.