RICHMOND — GOP lieutenant governor hopeful Pete Snyder is sidestepping his competitors and taking aim at Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe in his latest ad launching statewide Tuesday.
The 60-second spot is aimed at snagging delegates at next weekend’s Republican convention and will air on conservative radio in markets including Richmond, Lynchburg/Roanoke, and the Tidewater region, according to the campaign. Snyder is attempting to separate himself from the crowded field of candidates seeking the Republican nomination in the race.
But there is no mention of his opponents in the ad. Instead, fictional couple Sally and Harry return to mock McAuliffe’s record as a businessman and praise Snyder as a “conservative outsider” who is holding him accountable. An excerpt:
HARRY: Okay. Technically, I promised to spread the mulch today. But the game . . .
SALLY: Technically? What, you’re a politician now?
HARRY: No need for insults . . .
SALLY: Sorry . . . Hey, did you see Terry McAuliffe’s big announcement?
HARRY: What? More jobs for Mississippi?
SALLY: Good point. McAuliffe’s electric car scandal is going to haunt him.
HARRY: And Pete Snyder is already going after him.
The campaign declined to disclose how much it had spent on the ad buy. Snyder, a technology entrepreneur, former Fox news commentator, has billed himself as an outsider in the race, but he is hardly a stranger to Virginia politics. Though he has not held public office, he is a former political pollster and served as the chairman of the Republican National Committee’s victory efforts in Virginia in 2012.
Campaign spokesman Chris Bond said Tuesday the ad attacking McAuliffe, who is running against Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), highlights Snyder’s claim that he is “the only proven job creator in this race.”
“Given the fact that Terry McAuliffe is not just facing tough questions, but revealing himself to be a phony businessman, that contrast in November on the ticket would be very helpful to Republicans,” Bond said.
In taking shots at the top of the ticket, the approach is not to ignore his opponents, Bond added, saying Snyder considers them to be “a good group of men and women” he is running “alongside” and not against.
“We’ve been focused on running a positive, issues-oriented race,” Bond said. “Pete’s keeping his focus and fire on the Democrats we’re going to have to face off against in November.”
McAuliffe campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin criticized the ad as parroting attacks Cuccinelli’s campaign.
“Ken Cuccinelli’s false attacks on entrepreneurial businesses have backfired,” Schwerin said, not acknowledging Snyder by name in his response. “While Cuccinelli has hurt Virginia’s reputation as a great state for business with divisive social battles, Terry McAuliffe is focused on putting jobs first.”
Matthew Tederick, campaign manager for Scott Lingamfelter, a member of the House of Delegates from Prince William County who is also seeking the GOP nomination, said Tuesday he had not yet heard the ad, but suggested that Snyder may want to make sure he wins the nomination before looking ahead to November.
“My encouragement would be that he may want to consider first convincing the delegates at the convention that he, in fact, has ideas and a vision for Virginia,” Tederick said.
Snyder is among nine candidates — including seven Republicans — seeking to succeed Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R). Other GOP candidates include former delegate Jeannemarie Devolites Davis; state Sen. Stephen H. Martin of Chesterfield; Corey A. Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors; Susan Stimpson, chairwoman of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors; and E.W. Jackson, a Chesapeake minister who ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination in the 2012 U.S. Senate race.
The two Democrats vying for their party’s nomination for lieutenant governor are Aneesh Chopra, the nation’s first chief technology officer, and state Sen. Ralph S. Northam of Norfolk, a pediatric neurologist. The Democrats are holding a primary on June 11.