Is there a lane for a Republican candidate who wants to put Donald Trump in the rear view mirror?
A political consultant and former chief of staff to Sen. Arlen Specter has moved another step closer to finding out. Last week, Craig Snyder filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Elections Commission for U.S. Senate.
“So far, this field consists of all people who are firmly in the pro-Trump wing of the party,” Snyder said to PoliticsPA. “They’re people who I think are going to spend a lot of time competing with each other over who is the most loyal to the individual of Donald Trump, which means that I believe I can own the lane of people who want the party to move beyond Donald Trump.”
Snyder hasn’t formally announced a bid for the statewide office, but has been weighing a run for months. In March, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that he launched an exploratory committee. A source close to the Snyder campaign has indicated that he will make a public declaration this month on whether or not to formally announce a bid for the seat.
Snyder, who describes his position as “Not Trumpism. Not Socialism. Common Sense,” said that he believes Republican voters who may have supported Trump want to back someone that champions “commonsense conservative principles” in the 2022 race.
“They may have voted for him and approved of lots of his policies, but there are people who want the party to be defined by something other than just personal loyalty to one individual,” Snyder said. “They want it to be defined by what I call ‘commonsense conservative principles.”
“And I think that lane is a significant chunk of the voters, and if there’s no competition for that lane, I think it could be a winning strategy,” Snyder said.
Snyder, a Philadelphia Republican, also emphasized the field currently being “geographically diverse,” which he believes will divide up the vote.
During the 2016 presidential election, Snyder launched a super PAC supporting Sec. Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the White House, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
In February, Snyder went to bat for Sen. Pat Toomey by penning an op-ed published by the Philadelphia Inquirer that called on the Pennsylvania Republican Party to not censure the GOP Senator over his vote to convict Trump in January.
Snyder also issued an op-ed published by the Delaware Valley Journal in February that laid out his “Manifesto for a Post-Trump GOP.”
As Snyder still mulls a run, he may not be the only Republican seeking the statewide office hoping for the GOP to move on from Trump. Former Congressman Ryan Costello (R-Chester), a center-right Republican, is reportedly considering a run for Senate as well.
Several Republicans have already formally entered the race to succeed Toomey.
Kathy Barnette, a veteran and conservative commentator who was the GOP nominee for Pennsylvania’s 4th Congressional District in 2020; Jeff Bartos, a Montgomery County real estate developer who was the GOP Lt. Governor nominee in 2018; Sean Gale, an attorney; Sean Parnell, a combat veteran and author who was the GOP nominee for the 17th Congressional District in 2020; Carla Sands, former U.S. Ambassador to Denmark during President Donald Trump’s administration; Everett Stern, a businessman and HSBC whistleblower, have all formally declared their intentions for the GOP nomination.
According to the FEC, James Edward Hayes, John Debellis, Martin Rosenfeld, and Robert Jeffries have also filed statements of candidacy.