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17-Year-Old Girl Is Takin' West Virginia State Rep's Jerb
Well this is kind of cool: In West Virginia, a 17-year-old high school student has out-campaigned a sitting state representative, winning the GOP primary. Saira Bair, the daughter of a former state representative, beat incumbent state Rep. Larry Kump, 67, in the low-turnout primary -- only about 1600 votes were cast, but Kump acknowledged that she'd beat him the old-fashioned way: "She mobilized her people; she was effective. She just did a better job of campaigning," he said. It also helps that West Virginia Law allows 17-year-olds to vote (and run) in a primary as long as they'll be 18 before the general election, so Blair was able to get a lot of her friends to vote for her.
And now that she's got the primary out of the way, Blair graduates from high school next week. She turns 18 in July.
There's lots of neat trivia in the NPR article about Blair: only about half of the states have "let 17-year-olds vote" laws like the one she benefited from, and West Virginia is one of only 18 states that allow people under the age of 21 to hold office. And so, not surprisingly, only a handful of teenagers have been elected to state and local office, mostly in New Hampshire, where approximately a third of the population is in the 400-member House of Representatives anyway.
Blair defeated Kump by 872 votes to 728, and is likely to win the general election easily in her heavily Republican district. She used social media like a whiz and ran on a platform (posted to Facebook, of course) promising that she'll never use telemarketing or legislator vanity license plates, and good on her for promising not to support secession of the Eastern Panhandle from West Virginia (another secessionist movement we hadn't heard of, somehow).
And while we're thrilled for her, we are also just a teensy bit curious about some of the pledges near the bottom of that list -- "natural rights" and state "sovereignty," and promises to reject "any attempt of the Federal government to overstep its authority"? Hmm. In addition, she also bills herself as "pro-life," "pro-marriage," "pro-family," and "pro-Second Amendment," so she sounds a bit prone to maybe showing up at the Bundy Ranch maybe?
So, while we send Ms. Blair our congratulations, we also have an uneasy feeling that she may eventually be in the running for the youngest-ever nominee for Wonkette's coveted Legislative Shitmuffin of the Year Award. We'd just be delighted to be wrong about that, of course.
Follow Doktor Zoom on Twitter. He believes that this may be the first liberal hit piece on Ms. Blair.