Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday endorsed Virginia Republican businessman Pete Snyder in the 2021 gubernatorial race to replace Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who is term-limited and cannot seek reelection.
Sanders, a close ally of former President Donald Trump, is one of the first major out-of-staters to weigh in on the race in which several Republican candidates are currently vying for the party’s nomination, which a convention will determine on May 8.
“I just wanted to call and tell you how proud I am of all the work that you’re doing and how excited I am for your campaign. There is nobody I know that could better represent your state and the people of Virginia than you,” Sanders told Snyder in a FaceTime video first obtained by Breitbart News.
A partial transcript of the exchange is below:
SANDERS: You and I have gotten to be good friends over the course of the last, oh gosh, couple of years as a strong supporter of the president [Trump] and somebody who I know is going to fight for the kids of Virginia to open the schools, open the economy. There’s literally nobody I can think of that I’d rather see serving as the governor there, and hopefully I’ll win in my state and we can work together as conservative governors for America.
SNYDER: Sarah, I love it. Thank you so much. That means a ton. I know you’re fighting the good fight in your home state of Arkansas, and we’re doing everything we can to take on the teachers’ unions here in Virginia and get our schools back open. But that means an absolute ton having you have my back and endorsing me in this race. You know, look, I’m proud of all the work that we did to help the president, being a delegate for the president in 2020 and helping in ’16 and ’20 and everything you did to represent both the president and our nation, and you’re gonna be a magnificent governor, and I can’t wait to get out in the hustings and help y’all out a little bit later on. I got some work to do on my end first.
Sanders herself is running for governor in her home state of Arkansas in 2022 as current Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) is term limited and cannot seek reelection. Trump quickly endorsed Sanders in January after she announced she was seeking office:
Thank you President Trump for your endorsement and for always believing in me. As governor I will defend our freedom and lead with heart pic.twitter.com/QFtyuNpSm1
— Sarah Huckabee Sanders (@SarahHuckabee) January 26, 2021
Sanders during her endorsement conversation with Snyder also commended him for the 30 Day Fund, a small business relief effort Snyder first launched in Virginia after coronavirus lockdowns began and then open-sourced to other states — including Arkansas — as well as used to partner with Barstool Sports in the early stages of the launch of the Barstool Fund.
“You are one of the people that actually put your money where your mouth is not only in supporting the president, but also one of my favorite things that you have done and where we really got to bond was over the 30 Day Fund, and the effort that you led and helped us get started here in Arkansas,” Sanders said.
Snyder replied that it was “a true pleasure and a blessing” to collaborate with Sanders.
“Y’all poured your hearts into helping so many families and small businesses all around Arkansas. I’m just, you know, what we both did together — I mean now we’ve nearly helped 2,700 small businesses all across America,” Snyder continued. “And it’s still, it’s still going strong, and I’m just, again, I’m blessed and thankful to call you a friend and to have you have my back in this race.”
Delegates will vote on May 8 for the Republican nominee in this year’s hybrid convention setup, which will take place at multiple polling locations across the state rather than what is typically one large site. Other frontrunning Republican candidates include former state Sen. Amanda Chase, former Carlyle Group CEO Glenn Youngkin, and former Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox.
On the Democrats’ side, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), a longtime Clinton ally, became the party’s lead candidate once he announced in December he was running again.
Write to Ashley Oliver at [email protected].