(The Center Square) – Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has ended months of speculation he will make a run for the White House in 2024.
Youngkin was asked by Wall Street Journal editor-at-large Gerard Baker at the Milken Institute’s “Governing America” discussion if he was planning on “dusting off” his fleece jacket to hit the campaign trail this year. Youngkin didn’t mince any words with a simple, “no.”
Instead, Youngkin is going to put his focus on the commonwealth. The governor has decided his signature red fleece campaign vest can be put to better use in Virginia. Both chambers of the General Assembly are up for full reelection this year.
Multiple media reports cite an unnamed aide as saying Youngkin is not launching a bid in calendar year 2023, that he’s still possible to run in 2024. Virginia law does not allow governors to serve consecutive terms; his is scheduled to end in January 2026.
Youngkin hopes the red wave of 2021 – it carried Winsome Earle-Sears to lieutenant governor and Jason Miyares to attorney general in addition to his victory – will carry over into this November.
The Virginia General Assembly is divided, with the House majority Republicans and the Senate majority Democrats. Youngkin is focusing on securing a Republican majority in both chambers.
“I want to hold our House, and I’d like to flip our Senate. And I think we’re doing a really good job in Virginia, and I think this is a chance to bring that to voters,” Youngkin said during the discussion on Monday.
Youngkin may try to bank on his high approval ratings as Virginia starts the election year. In March, the governor received high marks for the job he has been doing leading the commonwealth. A Roanoke College Poll gave the governor a 57% approval rating, which had climbed five points since November 2022.
The poll also found a majority of Virginians were pleased with the direction the commonwealth was headed, at 55%.
Despite the positive poll numbers, this year’s election in Virginia could be anyone’s guess as the commonwealth underwent independent redistricting. As previously reported by The Center Square, the new redistricting map resulted in 46 members of the House and 19 members of the Senate were drawn into districts with one or more incumbents. Several incumbents have either decided to retire or not seek another term.
Youngkin’s announcement comes days before early voting for the Virginia primaries kicks off later this week.