West Virginia voters advanced 17 year-old high school senior Saira Blair to the November general election for a seat in the State House of Delegates this week, stalling the political career of her opponent, who was seeking his third term.
Blair, a pro-life, pro-gun Republican, defeated 66 year-old incumbent Republican Larry Kump in a low-turnout election to represent counties in West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle in Charleston. She received 872 votes to Kump’s 728, and will face Democrat Layne Diehl in November.
Blair, who can’t vote until she turns 18 in July, ran a positive campaign that played up her conservative position on abortion, 2nd Amendment rights, government regulation of small business and taxation. She doubtless received some of her political gifts from her father, Craig Blair, a Republican who currently serves in the State Senate.
In an election-day interview published in Hagerstown-based newspaper The Herald-Mail, Blair said her youth, as well as her direct approach to engaging voters, is an asset.
“I don’t have as many biases because I am younger and so I’m more capable of taking the views of the people directly from the district to Charleston,” she said. “I think I’m fully capable of doing the job, and I don’t think it’s rocket science by any means — not if you just listen to the people… In order to [help the private sector create jobs]…we need to make it a more business-friendly state by lowering the corporate net tax, eliminating the business franchise tax and eliminating the tax on equipment and machinery.”
If Blair wins the general election, she’ll opt to forego her spring semester at West Virginia University, where she plans to enroll as a freshman this fall, so that she can attend the State legislative session when it convenes for 2015.
Blair’s not the only young person making political waves this week. In what could be another indication that voters in some parts of the country are ready for new blood, 18 year-old Kelvin Cletus Green won the mayor’s seat in the small town of Archer City, Texas.
Then again, voters in Archer City didn’t have to think very hard about electing Green – he was the only person who filed to run, so there wasn’t even an election.