FIRST ON FOX: A stalwart in the West Virginia Republican Party for decades lost his primary race on Tuesday night due in part to his support of a controversial bill that critics say would provide healthcare for illegal immigrants, according to a group that actively campaigned against him.

West Virginia GOP State Sen. Craig Blair, the president of the state senate who has served as a state senator since 2013 and in the legislature for years before that, lost to his primary challenger Tom Willis on Tuesday night, WV Metro News reported.

Stand For Us PAC, a group that has pledged to put at least $1 million into defeating incumbents who they deemed weak on illegal immigration, says Blair lost because of his support of subsidizing healthcare for illegal immigrants.

"It’s simple: Craig Blair caved to the far-left on illegal immigration and turned his back on the people of West Virginia...and Stand for Us PAC held him accountable," Katie Miller, Chair of Stand for Us PAC, said in a statement to Fox News Digital on Wednesday. 


Craig Blair

GOP WV Lt. Gov. Craig Blair (John Moore/West Virginia Legislature)

"Over the last month, Stand for Us spent over $400,000 to defeat Blair, with the majority of our resources going to informing the Senate President’s constituents about how he led the charge to strengthen a federal program that uses taxpayer dollars to subsidize health care for illegal immigrants."

At the heart of the issue was Blair’s support for West Virginia Senate Bill 325 which critics say strengthens the federal 340B federal program which would ultimately mean subsidized healthcare for illegal immigrants.

Similar legislation across the country has drawn ire from Republicans including in Virginia where Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin vetoed the bill. 

Stand for Us PAC ran multiple ads hammering Blair on the issue arguing that Blair was "working against Trump’s America First agenda."


Border Patrol agents

A U.S. Border Patrol agent speaks to immigrants blocked from entering a high-traffic illegal border crossing area along Rio Grande in El Paso, Texas on December 20, 2022 as viewed from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. (John Moore/Getty Images)

"It’s disappointing to me that a bill that passed the Senate with a unanimous, bipartisan vote would be so blatantly misconstrued and weaponized as it was," Blair, who is the Lt. Governor of West Virginia, told Fox News Digital in a statement on Wednesday.

"This bill has nothing, whatsoever, to do with subsidizing health care for illegal immigrants. If providing more affordable prescription drugs to West Virginians — especially our vulnerable senior citizens on a fixed income — is a ‘fireable offense,’ then I’ll proudly take that pink slip."

Miller explained in her press release the strategy that Stand For Us used to unseat Blair who held a plus 12 favorability rating and an 11 point lead over Willis in April.

West Virginia capitol building in Charelston on sunny day

The Capitol Building Of West Virginia. (iStock)


Miller also warned in a statement that Republican incumbents should be wary of their stance on illegal immigration in light of Blair’s surprise defeat.

"Other Republicans should take notice, Miller said. "We only had a month from our first expenditure to Election Day and we were still able to oust a well-established Senate President by double-digits. That should make clear to Republicans across the country considering voting for legislation to strengthen the 340b program or allow non-citizen voting that they will not be safe no matter how powerful they are."

Miller continued, "Stand for Us isn’t going anywhere and the results of our efforts have only emboldened us to increase our initial investment so we can hold more so-called conservatives accountable for refusing to crack down on illegal immigration. Republicans are now on notice that they support 340b or non-citizen voting at their own political peril."