It’s one of those candidate claims just begging to be fact-checked: Pete Snyder, a Republican running for lieutenant governor of Virginia, holds himself out to be a “World Championship certified BBQ judge.”
It’s there in the last line of his bio, which also says he graduated from the College of William and Mary, founded the world’s first social media marketing agency, and has racked up assorted business accolades. The press corps eventually will have to look into all of those claims. But as a matter of public interest, the purported barbecue judgeship demanded immediate attention.
I consulted Diane M. Hampton, executive vice president of the Memphis in May International Festival. She said the claim is not hogwash.
“Indeed Mr. Snyder is a certified World Championship Barbecue Judge having completed a 9 hour course offered by Memphis in May,” she said via email. “Learning about pork? Sounds like perfect training for a future politician.”
Snyder, whose wife hails from Memphis, said he took the course with his father-in-law. He trotted out his porcine prowess last weekend at a statewide party gathering in Virginia Beach known as the Republican Advance, dishing up pulled pork from a smoker dubbed “Pete’s Pig Rig.”
Snyder, who featured Iran-contra figure Oliver North at the party he hosted Friday night at the Advance, drew additional attention with his barbecue Saturday afternoon.
“Pete's BBQ was delicious. It had a good kick to it with a sweet tang,” Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors and one of Snyder’s six rivals for the Republican nomination, said via email. “I look forward to serving it at my Victory party in November.”
Snyder plans to bring the smoker along on campaign appearances, but it hasn’t won any hearts at home. Since the Advance, the rig has been sitting in the driveway of his Fairfax County home. Snyder’s wife is said to be steamed.
“But like any marriage out there — when the husband goes whole hog on bringing a new toy — it doesn’t always go over well,” said Snyder. He is looking for a new home — for the smoker.
The smoker has its own Twitter handle, #petespigrig, which threatens to serve as a wiseacre alter ego to Snyder during the campaign.
“Why don't you love me?,” the smoker asks Snyder’s wife on Twitter. “I'm an ironclad conservative too!”