If Ron DeSantis thought he was just going to stroll up and get the GOP nomination handed to him, by now he must be rethinking that possibility. Not only are Donald Trump’s poll numbers rising, but different people are entering the race. And one person who may enter the race is Glenn Youngkin, who has none of DeSantis’s baggage and a lot of upside that DeSantis lacks. Simply, if Youngkin does decide to jump in the race, he could eclipse DeSantis’s chances severely either this year or possibly in 2028. Youngkin has the advantage, like Brian Kemp, of being one governor that is not beholden to Trump nor is afraid to publicly disagree with him. DeSantis can’t afford this level of competition. Axios:
Why it matters: 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.
What’s happening: Youngkin told Richmond reporters in April that he was focused on this fall’s Virginia legislative races.
“Listen, I didn’t write a book, and I’m not in Iowa or New Hampshire or South Carolina,” he said. “I am wholly focused on the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
But that has changed amid a rocky few months for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who is expected to announce his presidential candidacy Wednesday.
What we’re hearing: 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.
Youngkin faces high-stakes state legislative races in November. So an announcement about a presidential race is likely to wait until right after that, Republican sources said.
A senior Youngkin aide told Axios: “If the guy flips any seats at all, it’s proof that his political machine is ready to go.”
Youngkin did do a trial balloon last week with his video.
Meanwhile, DeSantis continues to self immolate, while he’s planning to announce his race for the White House formally this week. It remains to be seen how well DeSantis fares with big money GOP donors after his ongoing contretemps with Disney, not to mention his grossly unpopular abortion law. DeSantis’s race may be a short one.