The field of candidates for Virginia governor is growing again.
Tech entrepreneur and former Fox News contributor Pete Snyder launched his campaign for the Republican nomination with a video focused on getting students back in schools.
He spoke to News4 via video call hours before his kickoff with a backdrop containing the hashtag #OpenOurSchools. Snyder said he hopes to power his campaign with support from the many Open Our Schools parent groups that have formed across Virginia.
“We’re doing something unprecedented in this campaign. We’re actually working with the Open Fairfax, Open Loudoun, Open Prince William movements and all throughout Virginia,” he said. “We’re going to take on obstructionist school board members who are standing in the way, putting unions ahead of children, and we’re going to recall them.”
Snyder lived in Fairfax County for years before moving to Charlottesville two years ago. He has never held elective office but narrowly lost the GOP nomination for lieutenant lovernor at a 2013 state Republican convention.
More recently he’s been in the spotlight as he created a nonprofit called the Virginia 30 Day Fund. It provided grants to 1,100 Virginia small businesses hit hard by the pandemic.
In the video announcing his campaign, Snyder takes aim at Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who’s running to become governor again.
“We’ve had eight years of Northam-McAuliffe rule. Folks aren’t looking for another four more — we can’t afford it. Our economy can’t afford it, our schools and our children can’t afford it,” he said.
Republicans will choose their statewide candidates at a party convention on May 1.
Three Republicans have already announced campaigns, including former House Speaker Kirk Cox and State Sen. Amanda Chase. Chase has come under fire for her remarks about the Capitol rioters. Cox has already been endorsed by prominent Republicans, including former Govs. George Allen and Bob McDonnell.
But Snyder insists he can win without those high-profile endorsements.
“It doesn’t make it difficult at all. It’s no surprise the career politicians will be endorsing other career politicians,” Snyder said. “I’m a businessman, an outsider, a real conservative and guess what? We’re going to have the people and the grassroots on our side.”
So far, five candidates have declared candidacy for the Democratic nomination. Democrats will select candidates in a June 8 primary. A third-party candidate also is running.