Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin made campaign pitches for 15 Republican candidates in governor’s races across the country.
The four who won – in ruby red Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Dakota, and in Georgia, where Brian Kemp had a safe lead all year – didn’t need his help.
So much for whatever Youngkin magic he seems to have thought existed after his surprise win in last year’s gubernatorial race.
“Youngkin hoped his extensive out-of-state travels would create a big buzz and real momentum for a presidential bid. But the GOP flopped, Youngkin is at zero percent in the presidential polls, and his bandwagon has barely moved,” UVA politics professor Larry Sabato told the Washington Post.
Youngkin couldn’t even move the needle in Virginia, where he pushed hard for Republican candidates in three tight House races that could have given the GOP a majority in the Virginia congressional delegation.
Just one of the three, State Sen. Jen Kiggans, got across the finish line, in the Second District, with Yesli Vega losing to Abigail Spanberger in the Seventh District, and Hung Cao losing to Jennifer Wexton in the 10th.
With those wins, Democrats still hold a 6-5 majority in the House delegation in Virginia, and the two U.S. Senate seats, neither of which were contested in the 2022 cycle.
Which makes the 2021 red wave led by Youngkin look more and more like a one-off.
Youngkin has been touting the 2021 Republican wins in Virginia as he tests the waters for a possible 2024 Republican presidential run.
The success of another Republican governor on Tuesday, Ron DeSantis, who won re-election in Florida by a resounding 19.4-point margin, and carried Florida Republicans to several key wins down ticket, has boosted him nationally to the point that DeSantis could well be the early, early 2024 GOP frontrunner.
Youngkin was already a fringe player when it came to 2024. The strong showing by DeSantis, which at the moment even seems to diminish former president Donald Trump’s odds with 2024 in mind, coupled with Youngkin’s failure to translate his star power to wins for those that he stumped for, might be Youngkin’s presidential death knell.
But hey, good news, maybe Youngkin can put his attention back on what is supposed to be his day job.
State leaders on both sides of the aisle have been poking fun at Youngkin’s ambitions, with Democrats mocking him on Twitter by listing his campaign stops on a T-shirt, concert-tour style, and Senate Republican Leader Tommy Norment telling reporters in frustration at a state budget event this summer that he was hopeful Youngkin “will intensify his focus on the Commonwealth’s issues.”