Governor Glenn Youngkin traveled to New York City last week to meet privately with GOP mega-donors in Manhattan, a move that highlights recent indications that the Republican may be considering a run for president in 2024.
The one-day visit, which was not on Youngkin’s public schedule and included three national television interviews, comes as the new governor prepares to headline his first out-of-state political event since taking office. He has also started speaking more often of the needs of all “Americans,” not just “Virginians,” and has subtly changed the way he answers questions as to whether he will seek the White House.
Youngkin, a multimillionaire and former private equity executive, used to answer that he was focused solely on his new job in Virginia. More recently, he started saying he was “humbled” that so many people were “asking” for him to run.
Youngkin seemed to encourage the speculation in a separate Fox interview that aired on June 27th, when Kilmeade noticed that there was “a buzz about you running for president.”
“We’ll see what comes next,” Youngkin responded.
Matthew Moran, Youngkin’s former deputy chief of staff, confirmed that the governor met on separate occasions with three Republican megadonors in Manhattan on June 23, two days after the Virginia congressional primary, soliciting donations for his Spirit of Virginia political action committee.
Youngkin managed to excite the deep-red base without further alienating moderate suburbanites.
Republicans highlighted his victory as a model for moving forward with the Trump presidency, moving Youngkin from political obscurity to potential 2024 candidate lists for president.
That being said, Conant and some other political observers believe it would be a challenge for Youngkin to break through, even if Trump, who has widely hinted that he would run and surely dominate the field if he did, does not enter the race.
While Virginia governors consistently set up PACs to help fund races in the state, and some have traveled out of state to raise money, Youngkin’s entities stand out for their national goals – fueling speculation about his own aspirations.
The Nebraska appearance, first reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, is so far the only such out-of-state event on Youngkin’s calendar, political aides reported. But the governor is slated to campaign aggressively across the country starting in August, following the conclusion of primaries in most states.
Youngkin’s trip to New York came after he achieved a key milestone in his young governorship, securing $4 billion in tax cuts through a divided General Assembly. It was a partial victory though he mentioned that he wanted $5 billion in his studio interviews with CBS Mornings, Yahoo Finance and Bloomberg TV on June 23rd.
Youngkin was more specific in an interview with Washington Post reporters, editors and columnists just as the court announced its decision. He declared that he would support a ban on the procedure after 15 weeks, with exceptions for rape, incest and when the mother’s life is in danger, but that he would be satisfied with a ban at 20 weeks if he could get that through the divided Capitol in Richmond.
This week, he said he believes life starts at conception and would sign “any bill…to protect life” that passed the General Assembly.
Still, more than a few political observers have suggested that Youngkin must learn the ropes in his first government job before looking for a promotion to become a leader of the free world.
But others say Youngkin has a chance given that social media has made it much easier for non-family names to build credible campaigns.
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