There’s plenty for Glenn Youngkin to take care of with his new day job as governor of Virginia, but Youngkin is more focused these days on what he seems to think is a better job.
“I will repeat something that Kari just said: that I am so flattered by this whole discussion,” Youngkin said Wednesday in Arizona, where he was campaigning for Trump-backed election denier Kari Lake, the Republican nominee for governor out there.
An ABC News reporter had just asked Youngkin if he was considering a run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024, which is just about the worst-kept secret in U.S. politics.
“I was sworn in on Jan. 15, and we’ve gotten to work in Virginia in order to deliver on what was an incredibly ambitious campaign plan, and we’ve delivered on it, but we have a lot more to do,” Youngkin said, only leaving out the “aw, shucks.”
“Our focus is to make sure that we’re delivering for Virginians, that we’re getting Republican congressional candidates elected in Virginia to take back our House and send Nancy Pelosi back to California,” Youngkin said.
To the last part of what he said there, Youngkin, indeed, has been all over the country the past few months making sure that local and national reporters ask him about his plans for 2024.
His Spirit of Virginia PAC has raised $5.8 million, seeded by a $1 million contribution from the governor’s personal fortune – Youngkin’s net worth is in the area of $470 million, according to an estimate from Forbes – and the PAC money has paid for his trips to back candidates in Arizona, Oregon, where he was on Tuesday, and Maine, where he campaigned for the repugnant Paul LePage last month.
The Washington Post reported this week that the PAC has spent more than $340,000 for ad-making, consulting and fund-raising.
This for a guy who has been on the job for all of nine months, and is prohibited by the Virginia Constitution from running for re-election.
Youngkin may not yet know where all the bathrooms are in the Executive Mansion, and he’s already bored with the job and angling for something more to his liking.
That’s the only thing you can think when you see him schlepping for the likes of Kari Lake, who went from being a beloved local TV news anchor to rabid Trumpist by placing herself as a rabid anti-vaxxer who has pledged to issue a “declaration of invasion” to fight immigration if she’s elected.
Youngkin pulled the wool over the pundit class last fall with his team’s clever messaging casting him as a sweater vest-wearing moderate, but even as the yakkers sang his praises as a Republican-lite, he was playing to the Trump base with his push for “parental rights” in K-12 education that focused solely on the rights of social conservative white parents, and he famously demurred on the question of the legitimacy of the 2020 election until he had secured the GOP nomination, making you wonder where his heart really lies there.
Though actually, it could be that he’s telling you when he stumps for avowed election deniers like Lake.
At one campaign stop on Wednesday, Youngkin said, of course to applause, “Kari, you are great,” then slurped harder with the line, “I was flying here and thinking about all the ways Arizona is great – besides Kari Lake.”
It’s looking more and more that Glenn Youngkin is just using Virginia as a launching pad for something he thinks is more important.