MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Senate President Craig Blair was defeated in the Republican primary by challenger Tom Willis.

Craig Blair

Blair (R-Berkeley) received 32 percent of the vote in the three-way race, with Tom Willis garnering 5,439 votes across Berkeley, Morgan, and Hampshire Counties to land at 44 percent.

Former West Virginia Delegate Mike Folks came in third at 23 percent in a campaign that saw Blair running on his record and his opponents and PACs running ads on their behalf that sometimes got ugly.

Tom Willis


Tom Willis spoke to the Panhandle News Network during live coverage when it appeared he would emerge victorious.  He said he felt led to get into

the race for the 15th district.



Willis talked about the campaign.

Blair, a Martinsburg resident who has been Senate president since 2020, was challenged by Willis and by former Delegate Mike Folk.

As Senate president, Blair was also in the position of lieutenant governor. He spent much of his time at the Capitol in Charleston and emphasized economic development opportunities.

Blair was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2002 and elected to the Senate in 2012. He rose to Senate President in 2021.

The last time Blair’s seat was up, 2020, he earned 53 percent of the vote in the primary election to his far lesser known opponent’s 47 percent. That year’s general election was then a blowout for Blair.

Willis describes himself as “a constitutional Christian conservative.” He was a  U.S. Army Special Forces Green Beret and is a current member of the West Virginia National Guard. He’s a partner at a Martinsburg law firm and previously served as an international business attorney in Washington, D.C.

MetroNews Statewide Correspondent Brad McElhinny contributed to this report.