This post has been updated.
The chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors said Monday that he plans to make his candidacy for lieutenant governor official this week.
Stewart is the first candidate to officially announce for the lieutenant governor’s race in a year when the part-time post will get more attention and scrutiny because of the 20-20 split among Democrats and Republicans in the Senate. That split gives the lieutenant governor a tie-breaking vote on non-budget matters and also decides which party controls the Senate.
Pete Snyder, chairman of the state GOP’s VA Victory 2012 also is expected to run.
Stewart said given the position’s importance for 2013 and a desire to get to know people and issues in other regions, he is beginning his campaign early.
“I’m fairly well known in Northern Virginia, but I’ve got a lot of parts of the state to visit,” he said.
The chairman is known for championing the county’s controversial anti-illegal immigration policies. But he said his campaign will focus on economic development issues, as he makes the case that what has worked for Prince William will work statewide.
The county is often ranked in the top five in the country for job growth.
“I’m going to be focused almost exclusively on doing those things that will create jobs and more economic growth in the state,” Stewart said.
Former White House technology chief Aneesh Chopra (D) is also widely expected to run for the post. Oakton businessman Keith Fimian (R), a two-time congressional candidate, had been mulling a bid as well, but he said Monday he had decided against entering the race.
Stewart said he is also announcing early to line up financial donors. He said while he has not yet collected any checks for the upcoming campaign, he has lined up promises and support from prominent Republicans and conservatives.
He declined to name who they were but said he is doing well in the development and construction industries, as well as auto and defense industries in Northern Virginia, the Richmond area and Tidewater.
To run a competitive race, Stewart said he would likely need $1.5 to $2 million for the primary and perhaps close to $7 million for a general election.
“It will be a very expensive general [election] and the reason is because of the importance of the lieutenant governor’s race this time around due to the parity in the Senate,” Stewart said.