Is VA Governor Youngkin Planning to Run for Presidency?

Out-of-State campaigning suggests possible run for higher office


Glenn Youngkin, Co – Chief Executive Officer, Carlyle Group, USA, speaking at the „Testing America’s Economic Resilience“ Session at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, 21 January. Congress Centre – Senada, Copyright by World Economic Forum / Christian Clavadetscher

The country is two years away from the 2024 Presidential election, but the campaign trail starts now. President Joe Biden has announced his intent to run in 2024 and several Republicans are gearing up to run to be their party’s nominee. A handful of announcements are expected to come out following the midterm elections this November. 


Several Republicans have been floated as possible candidates if former President Trump chooses not to run. They include former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, Senator Ted Cruz, and Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. However, in the past few weeks, a new name has surfaced as a strong possibility for candidacy, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin.


Youngkin’s victory over former Governor Terry MacAuliffe last year was a surprise as Virginia has been a solidly blue state for almost a decade and a half. Since taking office his popularity soared in both the state and among Republicans. He’s spent a considerable amount of time this midterm election season campaigning for Republican gubernatorial candidates in numerous states such as Arizona, Georgia, and Maine. Youngkin has also raked in millions via PAC money and has had several retreats with big money donors. In addition, he is starting to be included in polls alongside other potential 2024 Republicans. Polls released by YouGov and Echelon Insights had him polling currently at 1%, ahead of several other potential candidates including Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton. While this number is low, it suggests that he has at least a starting place for when primary season begins. 


The appeal of a Youngkin candidacy to many Republicans is that he was able to connect with independents and some Democrats in the Governor’s election last year, as well as all of the major factions within the GOP. He also hasn’t invoked as much controversy within the party as former President Trump or Governor DeSantis have. Many Republicans see him as a way to lead the party into the future. 


Not everyone, however, is enthusiastic about Youngkin’s potential candidacy and his-out of-state campaigning. House of Delegates Minority Leader Don Scott (Dem) said the Governor, “abandoned Virginia to campaign for extremists.” (AP News). Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) has also been critical of Youngkin for supporting Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who has promoted false claims about the 2020 election.


Despite criticism aimed at him for his out-of-state campaigning, Youngkin said, “I am focused on getting some Republican congressional candidates elected in Virginia and some governors elected around the nation,” Youngkin said on CNN. “2024 is a long way away. And I’m really humbled by the speculation, but right now I’m very focused on Virginia” (TheHill).


If Youngkin does not run for President, he could still make a higher office run before his term expires (The Virginia Constitution prohibits consecutive Governor terms). Senator Tim Kaine (D) will be up for re-election that year and polling from University of Mary Washington has Youngkin only 2 percentage points behind Kaine.


The 2024 election may feel far away, but it inches closer and closer every day. One can expect to see numerous announcements from Republicans and possibly Democrats almost immediately following the midterms.