On Rep. Alexander vs. Matthew Huffer, a 21-year-old college student, in House District 39

The Tennessean reports on Democrat Matthew Huffer’s race against state Rep. David Alexander, R-Winchester, in House District 39.

The college junior, who is majoring in political science and economics (at Vanderbilt), decided to join the race in January while he was looking over education statistics for his hometown in Moore County.

“I got intrigued,” he said, mentioning the county’s low ACT scores. “I figured I could do a lot to help our public education system.”

He researched the requirements to run between sips of root beer in the school cafeteria. After consulting with his parents and professors, he decided to move forward, navigating a maze of paperwork necessary to get his name on the ballot.

…The pressures of juggling a campaign with a full slate of exams and coursework has forced Huffer to cut back on on-campus events and movie nights with friends.

“Finding a way to keep focused has definitely been a struggle,” he said. “I have to make the most of every moment I’ve got.”

If he is elected Nov. 4, Huffer plans to arrange his classes around legislative sessions downtown.

Despite the challenges, Huffer, who is running as a Democrat, believes he has a chance to beat the incumbent in his district, Rep. David Alexander, R-Winchester. He credits the environment at Vanderbilt with sparking his political ambitions.

“You’re always around people who are driven to do better,” he said. “It pushes you to strive to do better.”

…Alexander was first elected to the General Assembly in 2010, and then reelected in 2012. He lives in Winchester and owns Reliable Rental, a construction equipment and special event rental store.

He said his robust life experience, from service in the Army to owning a small business, qualifies him for reelection.

“I believe that I have served them and represented them well,” he said. “I would ask for them to send me back.”