Candidates for Virginia Lieutenant Governor: The Republicans

May 31, 2017

State Senator Jill Vogel, State Senator Bryce Reeves, and Delegate Glenn Davis
Credit Associated Press, Glenn Davis for LG Facebook

Three Republicans are vying to become the party’s nominee for Lieutenant Governor. Michael Pope talked to each to get a sense of why they are running, and what they hope to bring to the job.

In a crowded room at George Mason University a few days ago, Republicans from across Northern Virginia who gathered to hear the three Republicans running for lieutenant governor heard something a little different — a Republican candidate who is campaigning on her ability to break with the GOP and vote with Democrats. 

"I put principle over party and I was willing to break with my caucus on issues that really mattered to me and mattered to my constituents." - Jill Vogel

“In the time that I’ve been in the legislature, since the first year that I was elected I put principle over party and I was willing to break with my caucus on issues that really mattered to me and mattered to my constituents.”

That’s state Senator Jill Vogel. She’s pitching herself as a candidate for lieutenant governor who would be able to work with Democrats in the legislature and even — possibly — a Democrat in the Executive Mansion. When the event started she made that case directly to voters, saying that bringing jobs to Virginia should not be partisan issue.

“It’s misplaced to always talk about these things in a partisan way because they are not partisan issues. They're management issues. How would you manage your business to make it more competitive?”

Her opponent, state Senator Bryce Reeves takes a more confrontational view to politics.

“See I view politics like mold. Everybody think in your shower, you see mold growing in the grout, right? What happens if you don’t kill the mold with bleach? It grows. That’s politics. And you put that on good policies, and if you don’t kill that mold right away it will kill good policy.”

Senator Reeves says he’s willing to work with Democrats on issues where they can agree.

"If you're looking for someone who is just sitting around to be the next governor, that's not me. I would be a working lieutenant governor." -Bryce Reeves

He says, “If you’re looking for someone who is just sitting around to be the next governor, that’s not me. I would be a working lieutenant governor. That’s why I went for the job, and I want to get some things done and some heavy lifting done. That’s why I’m running for the office."

I ask, “You’re not going to run for governor? After your four-year term, you wouldn’t run for governor?

“I’m not saying I wouldn’t,” Reeves responds. “I’m just saying most people run for lieutenant governor job and they sit on their laurels, and I don’t want to do that.”

Perhaps the most well-traveled candidate in the race is Delegate Glenn Davis. For the last year, he’s been crisscrossing the state in a motor coach known affectionately as Mellow Yellow. He says all those miles have given him a broader understanding of the state and what he says should be the singular focus of the next lieutenant governor — jobs.

“As far as policies that set us apart, I’ve actually got tax reform policies that I’ve passed and also some that I’ve already put together on my website that get rid of double taxation policies on Virginia businesses that are driving jobs and businesses away from Virginia to North Carolina, D.C. and then Maryland.”

"If I heard one more time that Maryland was the place to be for cybersecurity I was going to jump out a window...unfortunately in Virginia we don't tend to market ourselves and handle that PR very well." - Glenn Davis

On the campaign trail, Delegate Davis also talks about his experience in the General Assembly, especially his time on the a cybersecurity subcommittee.

“If I heard one more time that Maryland was the place to be for cybersecurity I was going to jump out a window. They don’t have the silver bullet. They’re just really good at talking about themselves. And unfortunately in Virginia we don’t tend to market ourselves and handle that PR very well.”

Voters will have the final say on which Republican will stand as their party’s nominee when they head to the polls on June 13th.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.