Mom, Can I Go Out and Run the City?

01/03/2002 at 03:41 PM EST

No champagne was poured on Wednesday when Christopher Portman was sworn in as the new mayor of Mercer, Pa. (pop. 2,391). After all, the Republican is too young to drink. He's 19. According to the Associated Press, the new politico -- whose salary is $1,875 per year -- planned to spend his first night in office having dinner at home with his parents and watching his girlfriend lead cheers at a high school basketball game. "I'm thrilled and ready to take on this job," said Portman, a freshman at Westminster College in New Wilmington, about 15 minutes away from home. (Mercer is in the western part of the state.) Portman defeated Councilman Kenneth Vernon, 55, for the job, as well as another 19-year-old candidate, John Kish, in the Republican primary. He was also the victor of the Democratic nomination in the overwhelmingly Republican area -- where he got one Democratic write-in vote. Of his paltry pay for the job, which comes out to little more than $5 per day (including Sundays), Portman said, "People thought I was doing it for the money until they heard the salary." In his spare time, his Honor, who has 17-year-old twin brothers, plays golf and reads books about the presidency -- as research. As he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "I think the most important thing to me is setting goals. My lifetime goal is to run for president."

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