Popular Virginia Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin will not run for president in 2024, or will he?
While the first-term governor has repeatedly said he’s focused only on his own state — Don’t they always say that? — he’s been more than coy in his answers to direct questions about a potential presidential candidacy.
Could Youngkin be persuaded to join the race at the 11th hour, if the GOP appears to be in dire straits and the presidential election is on the line? Again, aren’t “they” always?
Although my opinion here is irrelevant — as are the opinions expressed by an untold number of keyboard jockeys throughout the country — several wealthy Republican donors appear to believe Youngkin can indeed be the white knight who rescues the GOP if asked to do so.
Would Youngkin do this? Let’s look at some relevant background information:
Virginia’s Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin ponders the future of America in a video he posted to social media this year.
Youngkin tells us that “we can usher in new values for America” as he narrates images of him speaking to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, and walking a White House colonnade. “The stakes and consequences could not be greater.”
The video was paid for by Youngkin’s fundraising vehicle Spirit of Virginia. It looks like an advertisement from a presidential election campaign.
It sure does.
The Republican donor class has actively sought out the 56-year-old Youngkin to take on the current GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.
Youngkin was described by a former Carlyle co-worker as “the presidential pot is simmering and he’s happy to stir it.”
The ever-coy Virginia Governor continues to conceal his cards. Youngkin said on Fox News in September:
I am not at the Iowa State Fair. I am in Virginia, not across the country, to campaign for Virginians.
This statement may remind you of similar remarks made by the Florida Governor. You’re not the only one who waited months for Ron DeSantis to enter the GOP presidential race in 2024.
Youngkin knows that, so far, the excitement surrounding DeSantis’s entry into the race has been far greater than the response he has received.
Youngkin, like Trump, was a political newbie when he announced that he would run for governor of Virginia in 2022. After his election victory, Youngkin’s stock in the Republican Party increased significantly. This is especially true given that he was able to win over suburban centrist voters who had largely abandoned Trump by 2020.
Youngkin’s campaign philosophy was evident on a recent afternoon, in Leesburg (Va.), a wealthy suburb located about 40 miles west from Washington. Over 200 people packed the auditorium of Cornerstone Chapel, a mega-church that is devoted to evangelicalism, in order to hear Youngkin speak at a forum titled “Parents Matter”.
Youngkin, who removed his suit jacket after entering the stage and rolled his shirt sleeves, answered questions and wrote in a notepad. He promised to address concerns from voters on a range of topics, from classroom size to sex education to rights for transgender students at schools.
A social conservative and evangelical Christian, Youngkin pointed to his faith several times. Parents should be “empowered to play the role in their children’s lives . . . God granted us”, he said. “There’s only been one perfect person in the history of this planet.”
Could Glenn Youngkin save the Republican Party itself from itself again?
Youngkin has good reason to hold his powder for the time being, even if he does consider himself a possible 11th-hour White Knight. God knows what will happen between now and Nov. 5, 2024.