GOP Incumbent Suffers Shocking Loss

( – Republican voters in West Virginia voted for a refreshed lineup of conservative legislators after a number of GOP incumbents in the state lost to their primary challengers.

Chief among them was GOP State Senator and State Senate President Craig Blair, who failed to pass muster with Republican supporters who deemed him soft on immigration. Blair had supported a measure, called West Virginia Senate Bill 325, that would essentially allow illegal immigrants access to free health care in the state.

“Craig Blair caved to the far-left on illegal immigration,” said Katie Miller, who chairs the PAC Stand for Us. Blair “turned his back on the people of West Virginia,” she added. Stand For Us, a conservative PAC, has committed to financially supporting candidates who advocate for a stronger stance against illegal immigration. According to Stand For Us, it spent around $400,000 in a campaign against Blair.

The incumbent West Virginia state senator, who also serves as the state’s lieutenant governor, was defeated in the primary by Tom Willis, U.S. Army Special Forces Green Beret veteran. Willis, who describes himself as a “a constitutional Christian conservative,” is also a partner at a local law firm.

Another incumbent, state senator Mike Maroney, who currently chairs the West Virginia Senate’s Health and Human Resources committee, was trounced in the primary by utility company electrician and former coal miner Chris Rose. Maroney’s defeat in the primary came in part due to a break from the state GOP’s push for a bill that would allow vaccination exemptions for certain students who do not attend traditional public institutions such as school or participate in group extracurriculars activities such as sports programs or sports leagues.

Other incumbent state senators – Robert Karnes of Randolph County and Chandler Swope of Mercer County – were both handed defeats in the primary by their respective challengers. Patricia Rucker, another incumbent, came close to a loss after winning by a slim margin in the primary against challenger Paul Espinosa.

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