Here Comes Glenn Youngkin?
It’s pretty rare for a governor to run for president when they’re still in their first term.
But Glenn Youngkin, the Republican governor of Virginia, is reportedly thinking about doing just that.
Youngkin, who long worked with the private equity firm The Carlyle Group, was elected governor of that state, which had been trending blue in recent years, in 2021, part of a red wave in Virginia a year after President Biden was elected.
Youngkin was endorsed by former President Trump for governor, although Youngkin kept him somewhat at arm’s length — allowing a telephone rally but not a live appearance with him— and Trump has since turned to some degree against his former endorsee.
According to The Hill, “chatter is growing” that Youngkin will get into the presidential race.
The governor has been traveling outside of Virginia, appearing on CNBC and meeting with donors in New York.
“We’re driving our economic development,” Youngkin said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” as quoted by the Hill. “We’re driving education to a new place and raising the ceiling and the floor. We’re making sure that law enforcement is supported, not demeaned. And we’re doing it in a successful way in a state that truly is purple.”
He added on CNBC that he is “focused on Virginia,” when asked if he plans to run for president.
The piece noted that Youngkin is popular in Virginia, with a 57 percent approval rating according to a Roanoke College poll. However, only 42 percent of GOP respondents in that poll want Youngkin to seek the Republican nomination.
Virginia political analyst Bob Holsworth described Youngkin’s potential appeal to The Hill.
Why Would He Do It?
“He’s kind of in what I would call the MAGA-light wing,” Holsworth told the publication.
“His positions are quite conservative. He’s very socially conservative, but at the same time he does have a business background and he does have a different style and demeanor, which is why he’s popular in Virginia. He’s not in peoples’ faces.”
Virginia limits its governors to a single term, therefore leaving that state with a great many ex-governors (both of the state’s senators, Democrats Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, are former governors.)
So Youngkin, if he were to be elected president, would miss out on the final year of his term. But running would require Youngkin to spend a large chunk of his limited time in office pursuing another job.
Last November, shortly after the midterm elections, Trump had ripped Youngkin directly, in terms similar to the way he has talked about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis: Arguing that Youngkin owes any and all political success to Trump himself, and implying that to run against him would amount to an act of disloyalty.
“Young Kin (now that’s an interesting take. Sounds Chinese, doesn’t it?) in Virginia couldn’t have won without me,” Trump said on Truth Social at the time, as cited by Politico, while throwing in some incongruous racism at Youngkin, who is not of Asian descent. “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. But he knows that and admits it. Besides, having a hard time with the Dems in Virginia – But he’ll get it done!”
Youngkin struck a conciliatory tone, telling the media at the time that he hadn’t seen Trump’s post.
“You all know me, I do not call people names. I really work hard to bring people together and that’s what we’re working on,” the governor told reporters, Politico said in November.
Around the same time, Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears, a Republican who had been elected at the same time as Youngkin, declared Trump “a liability to the mission” following the GOP’s lackluster showing in the midterm elections.
Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.