Can a Republican Retake Virginia’s Governor’s Mansion?

MIDLOTHIAN, Virginia—It was a crowded evening at Steam Bell Beer Works last Wednesday. A surprising 100 or so people turned out, despite the rain. Attendees sipped beers and chatted among themselves as they geared up for the main event: GOP gubernatorial candidate Pete Snyder. 

“I think he’s probably one of the more electable candidates we’ve had in a long time for statewide office,” said Chuck Fadus, who hails from Midlothian, before Snyder spoke. “I will just say—I’m not going to mention my source, it’s very good—that there are a lot of Democrats right now, very disaffected with the way the party’s going. The radical shift to the left is blowing the other more moderate Democrats out of the water, and they want to help.”

With five weeks until the convention, Snyder has racked up endorsements from a slew of high profile GOP insiders: former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, and Trump’s entire immigration team. “He has always been a true staunch conservative, but not just his policy positions. He’s committed to the party itself,” Tony Pham, event attendee and former acting director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the Trump administration, told The Dispatch. “I wasn’t really excited about this gubernatorial race until Pete announced.”

Snyder has spent the past 25 years dipping his toes in Republican Party politics. After graduating from William and Mary, he worked for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s 1997 New York City mayoral campaign and founded social media agency New Media Strategies two years later at age 26, which he sold in 2011 for $30 million. In 2012, he founded angel investment firm Disruptor Capital and had a brief stint as a Fox News contributor. 

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