Is Youngkin’s 2022 campaigning on behalf of fellow Republicans a 2024 prelude? – Fox News

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EXCLUSIVE: Gov. Glenn Youngkin is a politician in demand out on the campaign trail.

As the popular first-term GOP governor of Virginia crisscrosses the country, campaigning on behalf of fellow Republicans running in competitive gubernatorial elections in November, speculation rises regarding his potential national ambitions in 2024.

With political pundits viewing the rising GOP star as a potential White House contender in the next nomination race, Youngkin emphasized in a national exclusive interview with Fox News interview that “we’ll have to see how things pan out” as he reiterated that he’s “incredibly flattered by this discussion” and “the fact that my name is in the national mix is pretty overwhelming.”

Youngkin spoke during a Wednesday evening trip to Maine, where he headlined a fundraiser for former two-term Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who is this year’s GOP gubernatorial nominee as he runs to try and win back his old job from his successor, Democratic Gov. Janet Mills.

FIRST ON FOX: YOUNGKIN HITTING THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL TO HELP FELLOW REPUBLICANS

Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, right, and former Maine Gov. Paul LePage, the GOP gubernatorial nominee, speak with reporters, on Sept. 7, 2022, in Lewiston, Maine.

Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, right, and former Maine Gov. Paul LePage, the GOP gubernatorial nominee, speak with reporters, on Sept. 7, 2022, in Lewiston, Maine. (Fox News )

The stop in Maine was part of an itinerary that’s already taken Youngkin to Nebraska and Michigan — with campaign trail visits ahead in Nevada, Georgia, New Mexico, Oregon and Kansas — to use his star power to help Republican gubernatorial candidates. 

Youngkin energized Republicans nationwide last November, as the first-time candidate who hailed from the party’s business wing edged out former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe to become the first GOP candidate in a dozen years to win a gubernatorial election in the one-time swing state that had trended towards the Democrats over the past decade.

Pointing to his victory in Virginia, along with GOP wins for lieutenant governor, attorney general, and the flipping of the state’s House of Delegates from blue to red, Youngkin said his success could apply to other Republican candidates. 

“I do believe that there is a formula that worked in Virginia that can work other places, and particularly in states that have that Democratic governors that are blue states, I think we can help people turn them and turn them red. And that’s where we’ve really been focusing our attention right now,” Youngkin said.

YOUNGKIN SAYS HE FIGHT FOR SCHOOLS IS FAR FROM OVER

“I have a huge job in Virginia… and it takes a lot of my time, but the time that I am spending out of Virginia, I’m trying to help governor’s win in states that I think look and feel a lot like Virginia,” Youngkin said. “Maine is one of them. And I think Gov. LePage can win. He should win. He’s got a great track record, and I’m just excited to be here to help him.”

Youngkin spotlighted his push for empowering parents in their children’s education in his upset victory last year, and LePage praised the Virginia governor on the issue.

“I’ve looked at what he’s done on Virginia on education, and I wholeheartedly agree and I want to live off some of his ideas and some of the polices that are in Virginia that are working and we want to embrace them and bring them to Maine. School is very important to me,” LePage emphasized.

Ahead of his stop in Maine, the Democratic National Committee targeted Youngkin, with DNC spokesperson Elana Kuhn arguing that “after less than a year in office Glenn Youngkin is turning his back on Virginia in favor of a cross-country roadshow supporting extreme candidates.”

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Returning fire, Youngkin claimed that Democrats “see a governor in Virginia who campaigned on inflation, the economy, on jobs, on school and empowering parents, on making our neighborhoods safe and a government that delivers for them, and now we’re delivering on all of that, and candidly my popularity increases. They really don’t have any place to go because they don’t have answers for these things. They caused it. They caused inflation. They caused the deterioration of standards in our schools. They actually enabled the crime in our communities. And so as we go fix these, all they can do is cast disparagements.”

Republicans are spotlighting record inflation, soaring crime, border security, education and parental empowerment, as they aim to win back House and Senate majorities and increase their control of state executives and legislatures in November’s elections. 

But serving as a potential distraction is the GOP’s most popular and powerful politician — former President Donald Trump.

Former President Donald Trump delivers remarks at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 3, 2022.

Former President Donald Trump delivers remarks at a rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 3, 2022. (Kyle Mazza/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Trump’s dominated headlines this summer thanks to the House select committee’s investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by right wing extremists and other Trump supporters amid congressional certification of Biden’s 2020 Electoral College victory, and courtesy of the FBI search last month of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida for classified materials. 

The developments have fueled Trump’s repeated re-litigating of the 2020 election, which has served as a distraction for Republicans hoping to spotlight the nation’s economic ills. They’ve also fed President Biden ammunition to attack what he called the “extremism” of “MAGA Republicans,” as part of his strategy to turn what traditionally is a referendum election on the president and his performance into a choice election between Biden and Trump.

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“The reality is what President Trump does garners an enormous amount of attention across the whole country,” Youngkin acknowledged. “And in fact, you saw President Biden come out and call half the country semi fascist, and oh, by the way, I don’t know why President Biden would try to divide the country right now.”

Youngkin urged that “somehow or another, we’ve got to find a way to get past all of us and look forward. And I believe we did that in Virginia last year. I think we came together around a future that not just Republicans, but Independents and Democrats could all come together around and it’s a time for us to really, I think bring unity back to this equation.

But Youngkin also argued that “Republican governors have delivered to such an extraordinary way — faster growing economies, more jobs, better performance coming out of the pandemic, recognizing school performance matters, keeping communities safe, and fighting for those values we hold dear. And that’s why I think Republican governors have set the stage for Republican wins this fall in governors races.”

The midterm elections are less than nine weeks away, and once they’re over, the starting gun sounds on the next White House race. 

Asked about mentions of him as a potential presidential contender, Youngkin told Fox News “I continue to be incredibly flattered by this discussion. And you know, as a brand new governor who’s been in the job for eight months, and the fact that I was able to work to turn blue state red and we’re delivering on our promises, our entire day one game plan, and the fact that my name is in the national mix is pretty overwhelming, to be honest.”

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But Youngkin said he’s “staying focused on being a great governor for Virginia and helping the 2022 elections turn out the way we need to in Virginia to win congressional races. We got a number of races we want to flip, to help some governors around the country.”

Looking ahead to next year, when the next presidential race will get underway in earnest, the governor said “I gotta go to work in 2023 and deliver a big agenda in Virginia. And so we’ll have to see how things pan out but that’s where my attention is right now.”

Source URL: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/youngkins-2022-campaigning-behalf-fellow-republicans-2024-prelude

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