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Major Upset as College Junior Defeats 10-Term Incumbent

Republican state Rep. George Cleveland of North Carolina has been in the state House for almost as long as college student Wyatt Gable has been alive.

But last week, Republican voters gave the 21-year-old Gable a primary win over the 84-year-old, 10-term incumbent who was first elected in 2004, according to the Associated Press.

Gable, a junior who leads the Turning Point USA chapter at East Carolina University, won the primary over the former Marine Corps drill instructor 2,461- 2,366, according to the Daily News.

Gable faces Democratic candidate Carmen Spicer in the November general election.


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“I just think it came down to people wanting a fresh set of ideas,” Gable said, noting that it was old-fashioned work that produced the victory.

“It took a lot of hard work by me and my team. A lot of doors were knocked, and phone calls were made,” he said.

Gable said COVID-19 policies were the root of his decision to run for office, according to WNCT-TV.

“The biggest thing for me was my first year at ECU you didn’t get vaccinated for COVID, which I did not, you had to get tested every week, and if you didn’t get tested, they turned off your ID,” he said.

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“I couldn’t get food at the dining hall, things like that, and the real big one like, you know, you have to wear your mask in the bus, class, everywhere you go, but then you can go to the basketball game where there’s 4,000 people and you don’t have to wear one,” Gable said.

Gable said that as a legislator, he wants to expand the ways schools prepare students for life.

“The biggest thing I want to focus on when I say things like that is you know, preparing students for the real world — like home economics, shop, auto repair, carpentry, things like that in the school system,” he said.


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“Because you know a lot of people nowadays say if I don’t go to college, I’m not going to amount to anything. Which isn’t the truth. I want to be able to give students the tools so they can succeed in life like that,” he said.

Gable said facing a longtime incumbent was not all that scary.

“You know I felt confident in my ideas and my platform and thought I ran a very good race, so I wasn’t intimidated in any way,” he said. “But you know I think people were ready for a fresh face.”

Gable calls himself a “big Trump supporter,” according to the Associated Press.

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Conservatives, North Carolina

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