Virginia’s GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin ‘is considering re-entering 2024 race a month after dropping out
Republican Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin is giving second thoughts to making a run for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination only three weeks after he claimed to have shelved plans for a presidential run.
The GOP lawman is seen as a rising star in the Republican party following his surprising gubernatorial win in the formerly blue state in 2021.
However, following Donald Trump’s surge in the polls following his bombshell indictment in New York, and an expected 2024 announcement from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in the coming days, Youngkin decided against throwing his hat in the ring.
At the start of this month, Youngkin claimed he withdrew from the race due to polls indicating former President Trump’s growing popularity, but recent developments have prompted him to reassess his position.
The change of heart is significant because Youngkin, 56, who won the Virginia governorship in 2021 by defeating Terry McAuliffe, could become a prominent figure in the Republican Party.
Republican Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, 56, is believed to be reconsidering his decision to not pursue the 2024 GOP presidential nomination
Youngkin has previously said he was fully focused on Virginia’s upcoming legislative elections instead of a presidential run – but has he had a change of heart?
His polling has trailed both Trump and DeSantis, but it hasn’t stopped Youngkin from considering a run.
Although he aligns with Christian and conservative values, Youngkin does not embrace the same Trump-style approach as many current GOP leaders.
In April, he told advisors and fundraisers that he was tapping the breaks on a run for the White House, and instead focusing on flipping Virginia’s legislature red in the upcoming state elections in the fall.
‘Listen, I didn’t write a book, and I’m not in Iowa or New Hampshire or South Carolina,’ he said. ‘I am wholly focused on the Commonwealth of Virginia.’
But he now believes the situation to have changed with recent challenges faced by DeSantis, who is expected to announce his own presidential candidacy later this week.
Its widely believed that the Republican nomination will come down to Trump and DeSantis, but recent poling has seen DeSantis fading, while Trump picks up support.
Sources indicated that influential GOP donors, who are hesitant to support Trump but also have concerns about DeSantis, are urging Youngkin to enter the 2024 race.
A source close to Youngkin has confirmed he is reconsidering and would occupy a distinct position in the field, being neither an ardent Trump supporter nor a Trump critic.
A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll gives Trump a commanding lead over DeSantis among Republican voters, 49% to 21%
Discussions about Youngkin’s potential entry into the presidential race are reportedly taking place among Virginia GOP strategists, reported Avios.
‘He’s reconsidering. He’d be in his own lane: He’s not never-Trump, and he’s not Trump-light,’ one source said.
Last week Youngkin’s team released a video that hinted at a bigger announcement to come.
‘It’s time to usher in a new era of American values. It’s our turn to choose life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’
It’s possible that Youngkin’s entry into the race might come late on due to the high stakes of the state’s legislative races in November, where all 140 seats in the legislature are up for grabs.
Youngkin said that taking control of Virginia’s state congress ‘is what this year is all about’.
Fully controlling the legislature – which is under Democrat leadership in the Senate while the Republicans have a small four seat majority in the House – would provide Youngkin more opportunity to push through conservative policies and build a national profile as DeSantis has done in Florida.
It might mean that Youngkin’s official announcement doesn’t come until after the conclusion of the state races.
‘If the guy flips any seats at all, it’s proof that his political machine is ready to go,’ a source said.
As a governor of Virginia, only one single four-year term is allowed with consecutive terms forbidden.
It would mean Youngkin would spend the final year of his term campaigning in primary states such as Iowa and New Hampshire.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is widely expected to announce his own 2024 presidential run later this week
Former President Donald Trump has already announced he is running and has a commanding lead for support among Republican voters
The hedge fund manager turned Virginia governor stormed to a surprise victory over McAuliffe two years ago off the back of a fierce campaign focusing on many of the ‘culture war’ issues that are expected to dominate the upcoming presidential race.
But his championing of parents’ rights and education have since been co-opted by DeSantis, who boasts a more impressive legislative record in Florida than Youngkin has in Virginia.
Early on in his gubernatorial race, Youngkin embraced Trump’s false election fraud claims.
He was endorsed by Trump after winning the gubernatorial nomination at the party convention and praised the ex-president. Youngkin mostly avoided references to the former president after that.
Since then, Trump has sporadically targeted Youngkin as he fends off a handful of 2024 challengers.
In November, Trump spelled the governor’s name ‘Young Kin’ and added, ‘Sounds Chinese, doesn’t it?’
Trump insisted Youngkin only won his gubernatorial race thanks to his endorsement.
In 2021, Youngkin earned the endorsement of former President Donald Trump but they’ve become more critical of each other as of late
‘I Endorsed him, did a very big Trump Rally for him telephonically, got MAGA to Vote for him – or he couldn’t have come close to winning,’ the former president said. ‘But he knows that, and admits it.’
‘Besides, having a hard time with the Dems in Virginia – But he’ll get it done!’ Trump also said, seemingly still supporting Youngkin simply because he’s a Republican.
Some Republican strategists have suggested the 2028 race may be a better opportunity strategically for Youngkin to get involved.
In a heated race where DeSantis is anticipated to take center stage in a political slugfest with Trump, it appears others might sit out of the would-be Trump and DeSantis battle.
Last month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced he would not enter the race.
Following Trump’s recent indictment on charges related to a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016, he has seen a tangible surge in support for his comeback White House bid.
According to Politico, Trump’s campaign and fundraising committees have raked in over $15 million in the wake of the indictment.
Source of data and images: dailymail