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Why Glenn Youngkin Is Reportedly Reconsidering a Bid for President

AP Photo/Steve Helber, File

As the 2024 Republican primary field fills in ahead of this summer's first debates, there's more buzz that Virginia's Governor Glenn Youngkin might be reconsidering a bid himself after previously brushing aside the possibility of running in what is already becoming a dramatic GOP primary pitting a former president against many of his former allies.

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According to an Axios scoop, "top Republican sources" are spreading the latest 2024 scuttlebutt regarding Youngkin's 2024 plans, though any definite decision or announcement is unlikely before this November's elections in Virginia:

Youngkin, 56 — who beat former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) for the Old Dominion governor’s mansion in 2021 — is a leading potential future face of the Republican Party. He’s Christian and conservative — but not as Trumpy as many of the GOP’s current stars.

Youngkin has, so far, avoided showing serious interest in running for president in 2024, quipping earlier as Axios reminded, that "I didn't write a book, and I'm not in Iowa or New Hampshire or South Carolina" and is instead "wholly focused on the Commonwealth of Virginia."

According to Axios' sources, however, there are some Republican campaign donors who are looking for a potential third option to Trump and DeSantis in the primary — a role they apparently believe Youngkin fits:

Some powerful GOP donors, who won't support Trump but are beginning to be concerned about DeSantis, are encouraging Youngkin to jump into the 2024 field.

  • "He's reconsidering," a top source close to Youngkin told Axios. "He'd be in his own lane: He's not never-Trump, and he's not Trump-light."
  • A top Virginia GOP strategist told Axios there are "serious discussions happening on re-engaging in the presidential" race.
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Still, Youngkin is unlikely to make any serious moves until after this November's elections in Virginia, ones in which Youngkin has been heavily involved in working to bolster his party's candidates to strengthen GOP power in Richmond. One senior aide to Youngkin told Axios that, if the governor "flips any seats at all, it's proof that his political machine is ready to go."

For now, then, it's more tea-leaf reading moved to the back burner to see how November's elections pan out in the Commonwealth. If things go the way of Youngkin's own victory in 2021, that might just be the push and gas a 2024 campaign needs to get off the ground — but nearly six months of presidential primary politics (read: a lifetime) will be playing out in the meantime.

Adding to the speculation about a potential 2024 bid is a video Youngkin shared on Twitter last week saying it is "time to usher in a new era of American values." The video from Youngkin's "Spirit of Virginia" PAC includes clips of Youngkin's recent speech at the Reagan Library in California:

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Youngkin's policies and leadership in the Commonwealth have seen his approval rating surge to new highs in recent months, putting him well above the marks Virginians give President Biden. A majority of Old Dominion residents also said that while they see America on the wrong track under President Biden, they see Virginia on the right track under Governor Youngkin. 

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