Kent Snyder, 49; Campaign Chief for Rep. Ron Paul

Snyder helped persuade Paul to run for the presidency.
Snyder helped persuade Paul to run for the presidency. (Family Photo - Family Photo)
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Friday, July 11, 2008

Kent W. Snyder, 49, the campaign chairman of Rep. Ron Paul's unsuccessful bid this year for the Republican presidential nomination, died June 26 of viral pneumonia at Inova Fairfax Hospital. He lived in Arlington County.

Mr. Snyder had been associated with Paul, a Texas Republican with Libertarian leanings, for more than 20 years. He worked as a top aide for Paul in 1988, when the congressman sought the presidency on the Libertarian ticket.

In 2007, Mr. Snyder helped persuade Paul to launch a bid for the Republican nomination and served as chairman of his campaign. Paul raised millions of dollars from online contributors, leading all Republican contenders early in the race. He failed to attract many voters, however, and ended his candidacy in June.

"Like so many in our movement, Kent sacrificed much for the cause of liberty," Paul said in a statement. "Kent poured every ounce of his being into our fight for freedom."

Kent Wayne Snyder was born in Kansas City, Kan., and got his start in politics as a teenage volunteer for Ronald Reagan's unsuccessful presidential campaign in 1976. At 21, Mr. Snyder lost a race for the Kansas House of Representatives.

After working on Paul's 1988 campaign, Mr. Snyder moved to California and worked as a telecommunications executive for about nine years. He graduated from San Francisco's Golden Gate University in 1994.

After settling in Arlington in 1998, he became executive director of the Liberty Committee, a political group formerly associated with Paul and other congressmen with conservative or libertarian beliefs.

Mr. Snyder received a master's degree in political management from Georgetown University in 2005. He was also a martial arts enthusiast and had a black belt in kajukenbo, which combines several forms of self-defense.

In an item on a Web site dedicated to the memory of Mr. Snyder, Joseph Becker, acting chairman of Paul's campaign, wrote: "Kent almost single-handedly persuaded the reluctant Texan to seek the presidency as a Republican in the current cycle."

"It was a campaign given little or no credence or legitimacy at the outset," Becker wrote. "Yet, under Kent's leadership, it was a campaign that surpassed all expectations and outlasted all the so-called 'front-runners' with the exception of the eventual nominee."

Friends have established a fund to pay Mr. Snyder's medical bills, which totaled $400,000 after two months of hospitalization. He had no health insurance.

Survivors include his mother, Ilene Franklin of Green Valley, Ariz.; his father, Jackie W. Snyder of Overland Park, Kan.; three sisters; a brother; and a stepsister.

-- Matt Schudel

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