Seven Republican candidates are gunning to be nominated for Lt. Governor at the Virginia Republican Convention on May 17 and 18, and who will win is anybody’s guess.
The candidates will have to appeal to the majority of a few thousand Republican Party activists at the Richmond Convention Center.
“When you’re talking about any contest involving seven candidates, it’s like a hockey faceoff – who knows who’s going to end up with the puck?” said Stephen Farnsworth, a political science professor at University of Mary Washington. “You’re not really going to know who the nominee will be until you’re actually inside the hall, and even then it may not be clear.”
Whoever is nominated will run against the winner of the June 11 Democratic primary between former U.S. Secretary of Technology Aneesh Chopra and state Sen. Ralph Northam.
And while the Lt. Governor’s position has sometimes had little sway in the past, the winner of this November’s election will be the tie-breaking vote in an evenly divided senate.
“Normally, a lieutenant governor doesn’t have all that much to do, but when the senate is divided 20-20, the lieutenant governor is a key political figure in the passage of legislation,” Farnsworth said. “If the Republicans lose the lieutenant governorship, then the Democrats will be running the Virginia Senate again, and that will mean a very different set of issues on the desk of the next governor.”
The candidates have varying ideas and degrees of political experience.
Jeannemarie Davis, 57, is a Vienna resident and former representative in the House of Delegates and State Senate. She is married to former U.S. Rep. Tom Davis.
State Sen. Steve Martin (R-11th) was behind most of the other candidates when fundraising reports came out March 31 but was slightly ahead of Lingamfelter.
Susan Stimpson chairs the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, while E.W. Jackson practices as a minister and author. Jackson also ran an unsuccessful campaign against George Allen for Virginia’s U.S. Senate seat in 2012.
Pete Snyder, the 40-year-old founder of digital marketing firm New Media Strategies, is an entrepreneur who outraised his competition during the first quarter of 2013.