Glenn Youngkin’s Presidential Ambitions Go Up In Smoke

[Glenn Youngkin, PDM-owner, via Wikimedia Commons]

Republicans may need another savior because it doesn’t look like it’s going to be Glenn Youngkin. Conservatives in the Old Dominion were aiming to take back control of the state legislature and instead got smashed by Democrats, handing a shocking defeat for the governor who some Republican leaders had viewed as a potential 2024 nominee. 

“While Republican donors have been urging Youngkin to make a late entry into the 2024 presidential race, the first-term governor said he had to gain control of the General Assembly first – vowing to push through a 15-week abortion ban. 

Virginia’s voters rejected that, with Democrats estimated to win at least 21 state Senate seats, retaining their majority, and 51 seats in the House of Delegates, gaining control from Republicans.  

The Virginia results were part of an overall good night for the Democrats, which saw Kentucky’s Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear win reelection and abortion rights preserved in the red state of Ohio,” reports The Daily Mail. 

The surprising loss in Virginia almost certainly will end talk of Youngkin jumping into the presidential race next year. In September, New Conservative Post reported that donors had gathered together at a retreat with the Virginia governor in an effort to get him to jump into the race. 

Many Democrats who won, however, did not campaign against Youngkin and instead used Donald Trump as an anchor around the neck of Republicans, a similar move to the one that proved effective against the GOP in 2022.  

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D), who had campaigned for Democrats across Virginia, tweeted his congratulations for Virginia voters’ rejecting “the MAGA agenda in favor of leaders who will fight for their communities.”

“It’s official: there will be absolutely no abortion ban legislation sent to Glenn Youngkin’s desk for the duration of his term in office, period, as we have thwarted MAGA Republicans’ attempt to take total control of our government and our bodies,” Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Mamie Locke said in a statement referencing Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.

“This is a huge sign of Democrats’ continued momentum heading into 2024. With so much on the line, voters showed up at the ballot box and sent the GOP a stark warning — betting big on the MAGA agenda doesn’t fly with everyday Americans, and it will cost them once again in 2024,” Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison said of Virginia’s results in a statement.

Being connected to Trump also appeared problematic in “redder” states. In Kentucky, the only Republican to lose statewide was Daniel Cameron, the only one who was endorsed by the former president. Cameron had revolved his closing argument around being endorsed by Trump. 

The Kentucky governor’s race has been a predictor of the last five presidential races that followed a year later.