17-year-old beats incumbent W. Va. lawmaker in primary election

Kaitlyn Schallhorn
Former Reporter

  • Saira Blair defeated incumbent Larry Kump in Tuesday's GOP primary.
  • The 17-year-old is the youngest person ever nominated for a House of Delegates seat.
  • Via Fox News.

    Set to graduate high school in one week, 17-year-old Saira Blair celebrated by unseating a West Virginia incumbent lawmaker in Tuesday’s GOP primary elections.

    If elected, Blair would be the youngest state lawmaker in West Virginia. While she’ll have to face a 44-year-old Democratic opponent, Layne Diehl, the district is fairly conservative.

    "I'm really grateful that people gave me a chance regardless of my age."   

    Blair will attend West Virginia University in the fall to pursue a degree in economics and Spanish. However, if she does solidify her seat in the House of Delegates, she said she would take the spring semester off in order to convene with fellow lawmakers while in session from January to March.

    “I’m really thankful that people are willing to give me a chance regardless of my age,” Blair told The Herald-Mail.

    With all 13 precincts reporting in Berkeley and Morgan counties on Tuesday, Blair received 872 votes to Del. Larry Kump’s 728. Kump was seeking his third two-year term. According to Fox News, Blair spent $4,900 with a $2,300 loan compared to Kump’s $1,840 in spending.

    “She worked really hard," Kump told Campus Reform in an interview. "Her dad worked really hard."

    The 17-year-old campaigned on economic issues such as creating and promoting jobs in her district and eliminating the state’s business franchise tax while reducing the corporate net tax and dropping the business property tax.

    Her father, Craig Blair, once held the seat that she's running for. Kump said he thinks this is part of the reason she won. 

    "It was a family operation,” he said.

    While Kump says he doesn’t make endorsements of other candidates, he is excited to see what November will bring.

    “With the exception of a few issues, Saira and I have similar principles,” Kump said. "I hope that [November] will be a battle not on age but principle."

    Blair will turn 18 in July, making her eligible to run in November.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @katie0509





    Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Former Reporter

    Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a reporter with Campus Reform. Prior to joining Campus Reform, Kaitlyn was a reporter at Red Alert Politics and covered business and restaurants for the Alexandria Times.  

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