RICHMOND — Virginia Del. Glenn R. Davis Jr. officially kicked off his bid for lieutenant governor Friday by billing himself as “the only real job creator” in the race, and comparing himself to President-elect Donald Trump.
Davis (R-Virginia Beach) planned to formally launch his campaign Friday night with a dinner at the Virginia Beach Convention Center and a high-profile endorsement from former U.S. congressman Thomas M. Davis III, a moderate Northern Virginia Republican who is of no relation.
The delegate and the former congressman initially backed Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the Republican presidential primaries, with Thomas Davis serving as honorary Virginia chairman and Glenn Davis as one of several state co-chairmen. Both eventually got on board with Trump — an association Glenn Davis played up Friday.
“Donald Trump isn’t a lawyer and he isn’t an insurance salesman. He’s a job creator, and so am I,” Glenn Davis said in a written statement. “If we want to turn around Virginia’s economy and make Virginia #1 again, we need job creators who can get government out of the way and unleash the true potential of Virginians around the Commonwealth.”
With that remark, Glenn Davis, a telecommunications management entrepreneur, took a swipe at the insurance salesman and lawyer also vying for the Republican nomination. He faces state Sen. Bryce E. Reeves (Spotsylvania), a former Army Ranger, Prince William County narcotics detective and insurance salesman; and state Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (Fauquier), managing partner of a law firm specializing in campaign finance law and the former chief counsel of the Republican National Committee.
In formally announcing his own bid a day earlier, Reeves also tipped his hat to Trump. The president-elect lost the state by five points but could have more appeal among the smaller, more conservative electorate that typically turns out for Republican primaries and off-year general elections.
On the Democratic side, two former federal prosecutors — Gene Rossi and Justin Fairfax — are hoping to succeed Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who is running for governor.
Glenn Davis touted his “Virginia turnaround plan,” which he said would restore the state to the top of the nation’s business rankings.
“It’s funny to hear my opponents’ talk about ‘draining the swamp,’ ” he said in his written statement. “The only thing they ever drained from the swamp was campaign contributions.”
In an interview with The Washington Post, Thomas Davis said the delegate has what it takes — as someone who works in high-tech and lives in an urbanized, defense-heavy part of the state — to attract support in vote-rich Northern Virginia.
“He understands the new economy,” the former congressman said of Glenn Davis. “He’s been active in it with his business. I think he’s a kind of Republican who would have appeal. He understands the importance of military and defense funding to the area. . . . He’s the kind of candidate we’re going to need to balance out a statewide ticket.”