Getting attention in an off-year election for a down-ballot office can be hard enough, and it’s even trickier where there are seven candidates in the field.
So with six weeks to go until Virginia Republicans gather to pick their nominee for lieutenant governor, Pete Snyder is hoping to snag support at the state GOP convention with a few unconventional tricks.
Snyder, a Northern Virginia technology entrepreneur, is launching what he calls his “Ironclad Conservative” tour of the state, starting Wednesday in Roanoke and finishing the month in Fairfax, where he lives. His campaign will be hawking T-shirts that look better-suited to a heavy metal band, using a font that evokes Iron Maiden.
And Snyder will be accompanied by his hefty barbecue smoker, which he has dubbed “Pete’s Pig Rig” and has been using as a campaign prop for months. The smoker has a Twitter handle (@PetesPigRig), and Snyder is also releasing a statewide radio ad featuring the “voice” of the rig.
The ad touts Snyder’s support from Oliver North and Patrick Henry College Chancellor Michael Farris, dubbing Snyder a “true outsider” who will find the “insiders” and “smoke ‘em out.” (Snyder is a first-time candidate, though he is a longtime player in GOP politics and served as chairman of the Virginia Victory coordinated campaign effort for Republicans in 2012.)
The radio ad also mocks “robo-calls,” and Snyder is trying to distinguish himself a bit by only placing live calls from volunteers or staff members as he seeks to round up support for the May 17-18 Republican convention in Richmond.
The Republican field for lieutenant governor also includes former Del. Jeannemarie Devolites Davis (Vienna); Chesapeake minister E.W. Jackson; Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter (Prince William); state Sen. Stephen H. Martin (Chesterfield); Corey A. Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors; and Susan Stimpson, chairwoman of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors.
Democrats will choose their nominee in a June primary race between Aneesh Chopra, the former U.S. chief technology officer, and state Sen. Ralph Northam (Norfolk).