BETHLEHEM, W.Va. (WTRF) – He is younger than this century and possibly the youngest city government official to ever be elected in the Ohio Valley.

The Village of Bethlehem could be making history in the state of West Virginia if they elect Aaron Snider, 20, as mayor.

Snider was born August 7, 2001. At just age 18, he was elected into Bethlehem’s 3rd Ward, beating out a sitting councilman.

That alone shapes him to be the youngest elected city official in West Virginia. The Ohio County Board of Election records show that no one as young as Snider has ever been elected in the county. 

The youngest 7NEWS could find in the state was Cory Roman, a 20-year-old councilman of Martinsburg.

In his first time sitting down for an interview, we asked this young Republican if his age is a hurdle for the people of Bethlehem. 

“That’s one thing I was worried about even on council,” replied Snider. “I was only 18 when I decided to run and I was met with nothing but overwhelming support.”

But now Snider is eyeing a possible second chance to make state history. Running unopposed on the ballot, he has a solid shot of replacing Bethlehem Mayor Don Junkins, who is not seeking reelection. 

“It does seem like I’ll be the youngest mayor in West Virginia state history.” 

Aaron Snider, (R) Bethlehem Mayoral Candidate

7NEWS reached out to the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office for confirmation. Deputy and Chief of State, Mike Queen, says with 231 municipalities, they do not usually track age. But Queen did note the 51st anniversary for 18-20 year-olds being allowed to vote in the state and said a mayor at 20 sounds on par for setting a record.

From what 7NEWS could gather, the youngest mayor ever on record in the state is Tashua Allman. She was elected as Glenville Mayor at just 21 years old. And then in 2011, Thomas Taylor of Greenbrier County became the mayor of White Sulphur Springs at age 21. He was quoted in The Registered-Harald for being “…One of the two (Allman as the other) youngest mayors in the state.”

Snider would take office in July, which would come just one month before his 21st birthday. 

“You look at younger people and go, ‘Ok, they really don’t know.’ And that may be the case in a lot of things. But, I believe if you get out there and really show people what you’re about, what you’re passionate about, we can break that stereotype.” 

Aaron Snider, (R) Bethlehem Mayoral Candidate

During his time on council, the young candidate has handled a lot more money than most 20-year-olds: He is spearheading a $100,000 grant for a walking trail near the playground. 

Mayoral candidate Aaron Snider holding campaign sign alongside grandfather/former mayor “Rhett” Daniel

If there is no write-in winner, Snider would follow in his grandfather and great grandfather’s footsteps. Up on the hill, Garrett Rhett Daniel was the mayor for six terms and Snider’s great grandfather, John Daniel, was mayor for seven terms. 

Bethlehem’s mayoral primaries take place May 10. That will be when the village decides whether they make history.

Quoting his grandfather, he speaks with experience you would not know from his age: “I tell ya, it’s difficult. It’s not easy,” said Snider. “But at the end of the day it pays off.”

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