Conrad Lucas, the youngest GOP state party chairman in the United States, has announced he’s running for Congress.
Lucas, who just turned 36, has served as chairman of West Virginia’s Republican Party since 2012, when he was just 30 years old. He is ready to bring fresh leadership to Washington and help Donald Trump pass his agenda through Congress.
Lucas listed his accomplishments as GOP chairman in a phone interview with the Washington Examiner, and explained how he plans to serve the people of West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District.
Out of all 50 states, West Virginia has seen the largest Republican shift in voting since the 2008 general election at 29 percentage points. John McCain won the Mountain State by 13 points in 2008 and Donald Trump won it by 42 percent last year. Lucas attributes this enormous Republican shift in voting to two people: Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
“Obama went so far left — representing what national Democrats really are. He single-handedly dismantled the coal industry in West Virginia. Donald Trump emerged and presented so much hope for the coal industry and for the entire state. Trump really resonated with the people of West Virginia, including myself.”
Unlike many Republicans running for office in 2018 who are afraid to publicly support Donald Trump, Conrad Lucas is unafraid to show his support for the president and is putting that support at the forefront of his campaign. He never wants to be wishy-washy in his support of the president and “wants folks to know it.”
“West Virginia is conservative! The two parties have such a distinction now in their philosophies. For so long, Democrats from West Virginia would go to Washington and do one thing, and say different things when they came back,” Lucas explained.
As chairman, Lucas saw the first Republican takeover of West Virginia’s state legislature in more than 80 years. Under his unique leadership, Lucas sought out and empowered the conservative leaders of his state and was able to flip both chambers through “recruiting hardworking candidates in every district, giving them tools to succeed, raising resources from the party, and making sure candidates campaigned as conservatives because that’s what [the] state wanted.” As a direct result of Lucas’s diligence and determination, all statewide officeholders in West Virginia (except for one) are now Republican.
Lucas has been labeled a “different Republican Party chairman from the start” because of his age. He recognizes that “a lot of folks were skittish with electing someone so young,” but this didn’t stop him from his sweeping success in West Virginia.
“I like to think of it as not only a victory for my state and conservative principles, but as a victory for my generation. Regardless of age, there were great things that could be accomplished with the right tools in place,” he said.
Lucas hopes to fill Rep. Evan Jenkins’ congressional seat, which will be vacant as Jenkins is running to defeat Joe Manchin for his seat in the U.S. Senate. As of now, three Democrats have announced they will run to challenge Lucas. Their chances of defeating the chairman are slim to none as Donald Trump won the 3rd District by 73 points in 2016, almost ensuring a Republican victory next year. Because of the massive victory margin, Conrad “would not be surprised if more [Republicans] hopped in the race.” Regardless, he is confident that he will win.
Lucas’ family has called West Virginia home since the late 1700s. For 13 generations, the Lucas family has been known for their values of faith, family, and hard work. If anyone understands the concerns and values of people in the 3rd District, it’s certainly Conrad Lucas.
“People in the 3rd District are incredibly tied to the state and where they are from. A lot of people share similar lineage and are tied to the land. They want to see growth in West Virginia’s jobs and economy and rejuvenation of the coal industry.”
Conrad says he's happy about the recent $83 billion deal between China Energy and the United States and thinks it will create jobs and stimulate West Virginia’s economy. He hopes to work in Congress to help revitalize the coal industry that severely declined under Obama’s two terms. The chairman also pays close attention to news coverage on tax and healthcare reform. He claims that these two issues are incredibly important to the people of West Virginia, and promises to fight for principled, conservative change if elected.
“We need to simplify the tax system in America and change it in a way that incentivizes American business to bring jobs back home. Tax reform has the potential to be a boon to the entire country. West Virginia, in particular, could use any and all jobs that have been relocated overseas, and we need them back here.”
“The president’s announcement on wanting to repeal the individual mandate is a great step to dismantling Obamacare. Many of the concerns that West Virginia residents have are centered around Obamacare,” the chairman explained.
Lucas, a capitalist, also supports the president’s executive order allowing insurance coverage to be sold across state lines and supports any decision that allows the free market to prosper. As a goal-oriented person with much life ahead of him, Lucas plans to be in Congress for “enough time where he feels he’s made a big difference in the state.”
After that, he may return to the private sector or consider other options in politics. With a bachelor's degree in human and organization development and history from Vanderbilt, a master’s in education policy and management from Harvard, a juris doctor in Law from Tulane, and doctorate in higher education leadership and policy from vanderbilt, it’s safe to say that his career prospects are quite broad.
“When I’m retired and all things are said and done, I want to look back and be able to say to myself that I led a strong Christian life, raised a good family, and made a difference for my state and country.”
When he’s not busy managing West Virginia’s Republican Party, Conrad enjoys being an avid college football fan. Having gone to school in the SEC he made it his goal to attend a football game in every SEC stadium. So far, he’s been to every SEC stadium except Texas A&M ,which he hopes to visit soon.
Conrad is also a travel enthusiast and was married this past summer. When he proposed to his wife, he said he “can’t promise much except it’ll all be an adventure.” The couple was just four days into their honeymoon in August when they found out West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice was switching parties to become a Republican. “This is our life now, honey,” he joked. The two met at a Republican National Committee meeting as his wife used to work for the RNC.
As a young, emerging, and wildly popular Republican leader, Conrad Lucas has some advice for fellow conservative millennials striving to make an impact in today’s interesting political landscape:
“Talk to people. Get to know the people in your district. Find out exactly what it is that are the real concerns of the people in whatever district or state you’re wanting to represent, and then figure out the best strategy to help them. Running for office and being in political positions seems great, but make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons, and make sure you’re representing your constituents in the ways they want to be represented.”
Lucas will face a primary election on May 8, 2018, and a general election for the 3rd District’s congressional seat next November. His plan to drain the swamp, build the wall, fight terrorism, defend the Constitution and Second Amendment, protect the right to life, defund Planned Parenthood, get drugs out of West Virginia’s communities, bring jobs back home, and stand up for coal is certainly one that will resonate with thousands of West Virginians. Keep an eye on this rising star in the Republican Party.
Aaron Carpenter (@aaronjcarpenter) is a senior at Ohio State University majoring in mechanical engineering. One of Aaron’s claims to fame is that Donald Trump retweeted one of Aaron’s tweets in March 2015.