GOP State Senator Loses After PAC Hammers Him Over Controversial Bill

( – Longtime West Virginia Republican state Sen. Craig Blair lost his primary race on May 14 to challenger Tom Willis.

Willis received 44.37 percent of 12,258 votes, defeating Blair, who received 32.23 percent. Former delegate Mike Folk came in third, receiving 23.4 percent of the vote.

The group Stand For Us PAC campaigned against Blair after he supported a bill that would have provided illegal immigrants with healthcare. The group has pledged to invest over $1 million to defeat incumbents they feel are weak on illegal immigration.

In the run-up to the primary, the group hammered Blair for his support of West Virginia Senate Bill 325, which strengthens a federal program that could lead to illegal immigrants getting subsidized healthcare. Similar legislation was vetoed in Virginia by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

In a statement after the primary, Stand for Us PAC Chair Katie Miller stated Blair had “caved to the far-left on illegal immigration,” adding that, as a result, the group “held him accountable.” Miller noted that the group spent over more than “$400,000 to defeat Blair,” running ads to let his constituents know that “he led the charge” for strengthening the program that “uses taxpayer dollars” that could provide healthcare to illegal immigrants. The ads argued Blair was “working against” former President Donald Trump’s “America First agenda.”

Miller noted that the group only began running ads against Blair in April, just one month before the election, warning that “other Republicans should take notice.”

In a statement after his defeat, Blair called it “disappointing” that the legislation, which “passed the Senate with a unanimous, bipartisan” support, was “so blatantly misconstrued and weaponized.” He added the bill was not about “subsidizing health care for illegal immigrants” but about providing the residents of West Virginia with “more affordable prescription drugs.”

Blair, the Lt. Governor of West Virginia and West Virginia state Senate president, served as a senator representing the 15th Senatorial District since 2013. Before being elected to the state Senate, he served in the West Virginia House of Delegates since 2002.

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