May 15, 2014 in Nation/World

West Virginia teen Saira Blair wins primary

Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Saira Blair waves to motorists in Hedgesville, W. Va., after Tuesday’s GOP primary.
(Full-size photo)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A week before her high school graduation, Saira Blair was barely old enough to vote when she unseated a West Virginia lawmaker almost four times her age.

After Tuesday’s GOP primary, the 17-year-old is one election away from becoming the youngest state lawmaker in West Virginia history. Larry Swan, sworn in as a 20-year-old delegate in 1972, set the current record.

Blair’s birthday is in July, so she would just meet the 18-year-old minimum age for West Virginia House of Delegates members. Seventeen-year-olds who will turn 18 by the November election can vote in West Virginia’s primary.

Blair is a churchgoer who says she is pro-life, pro-family, pro-gun rights and pro-business. Blair’s electrician father, Craig Blair, is a state senator who once held the House seat she is seeking.

Only about 150 votes separated Blair from Republican Del. Larry Kump in the Eastern Panhandle primary, according to unofficial results. But midterm turnout was dismal: Only about 1,600 votes were cast in the 59th House District.

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