Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin appears to have ruled out the possibility of him entering the Republican presidential primaries and instead pledged to work to improve his state.
Youngkin, who was interviewed by Wall Street Journal editor Gerard Baker at the Milken Institute Los Angeles about his presidential aspirations, said: “I will be working in Virginia next year.”
Youngkin said that he will focus on helping Republican candidates win legislative elections in Virginia where the state Senate is currently under Democratic control and the House of Delegates is under Republican control.
I would like to keep our House and flip our Senate. I believe we are doing a great job in Virginia and this is an opportunity to show that to the voters. I haven’t published a book and I am not in Iowa. This year, I am spending my time in Virginia.
I think we are demonstrating that we can, in fact, do things differently and apply common sense to some of these perennially difficult problems. These common-sense solutions are effective.
Youngkin, when pressed about the issue, did not definitively rule out a run for president.
Baker asked: “So, in the words of LBJ, will you not seek, and if nominated will you not serve, and accept the Republican nomination as president of the United States?” Baker was referring to the 1968 speech by President Lyndon B. Johnson, who confirmed that he wouldn’t run for office again.
Youngkin responded, “We’ll let LBJ handle that one.”
A Youngkin aide has told NBC News his answers were focused specifically on 2023. This means he may announce his candidacy even as late as 2024.
The aide said, “This wasn’t an announcement or a definitive decline.”
Youngkin became famous in 2021 after he won the Virginia Governorship by a major upset. He defeated former Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe. Recently, he went on a tour of the world, which sparked speculation that he was considering a presidential run.
Youngkin visited South Korea, Japan, and the capital city of Taiwan, Taipei, where he was able to meet with Tsai and Ing-wen. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis also met with Japanese Prime Minster Fumio Kishhida in Tokyo. Both governors described the trips as business missions. However, many observers saw them as an attempt by potential candidates for political office to boost their foreign policy credentials.
Youngkin’s impressive approval rating in a state which is typically Democratic contributes to his appeal. A Mason-Dixon poll conducted in March found that 56 percent of Virginians approved of Youngkin’s leadership, while only 31 percent did not. Youngkin has had his highest approval rating ever since he assumed office in early 2020.
Virginia has voted in favor of every Democratic candidate since Barack Obama’s 2008 election, but new polls suggest that Biden and his party may be losing support. Biden received a 45 percent approval rating from the Mason-Dixon poll, while 52 percent of respondents disapproved. In a separate survey conducted by Christopher Newport, 73 percent also believed that the country was heading in the wrong direction.