RICHMOND — State Sen. Bryce Reeves, the leading Republican force behind a recent gun deal with Gov. Terry McAuliffe, will run for lieutenant governor in 2017.
Reeves, a Spotsylvania businessman, former Army Ranger and former Prince William County narcotics detective, announced his bid Monday at the Virginia War Memorial, with several members of the legislature at his side.
“You can be a principled conservative and still get things done,” Reeves said. “You don’t have to lob a grenade over the other side. . . . What you have to do is think tactically.”
The second-term senator rolled out a list of nearly 40 state senators and delegates who support his bid. But he faces competition from within his own Senate caucus. Over the weekend, Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (R-Fauquier) surprised colleagues by telling the Richmond Times-Dispatch that she intends to run.
“I am going to run,” she later told The Washington Post. “Now is not the time for me to launch yet because we have session and races for 2016, but I am so grateful to have support from people around the commonwealth who have encouraged me to run.”
Another potential contender is Pete Snyder, a Northern Virginia technology entrepreneur who lost the 2013 Republican nomination to Chesapeake minister E.W. Jackson.
Virginia’s lieutenant governorship is a part-time job. The officeholder’s only constitutional duty is to preside over the Senate and break tie votes. It has become a higher-profile position in recent years because the Senate has been closely divided between Republicans and Democrats, resulting in more ties to break.
The post is often a steppingstone to higher office. The current lieutenant governor, Ralph Northam (D), is running for governor in 2017 to succeed term-limited McAuliffe (D).
Reeves, 49, is fresh off a victory that has endeared him to his party’s gun-rights advocates while also strengthening his reputation as someone who can bridge partisan divides. The legislation that resulted from the compromise he brokered with McAuliffe greatly expands the right to carry concealed weapons in Virginia in exchange for voluntary background checks at gun shows and tougher restrictions on domestic abusers.
“Virginia deserves strong conservative leadership,” Reeves said in a statement. “I have proudly fought for all Virginians during my time in the Senate, whether it meant protecting their 2nd Amendment rights, standing up for the rights and proper treatment of our veterans and military families, or simply working to lower taxes and provide economic opportunity for everyday Virginians.”