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After months of deflections, Youngkin says 'no' to a presidential bid -- this year

Posted at 7:57 PM, May 01, 2023

BEVERLEY HILLS — In a Beverley Hills ballroom, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin said he was not planning to seek the 2024 Republican nomination for President.

While Youngkin has fundraised around the country and seen as dipping his toe in the presidential pool, this marked the first time he’s flat-out said he is not planning to run this year.

Youngkin was the featured speaker for a session at the Milken Institute’s Global Conference when at the end of a one-on-one exchange, Gerard Baker of the Wall Street Journal asked Youngkin a question that’s been swirling near Virginia's 74th Governor since his red-vested campaign won the governorship.

“Are you going to be dusting off that fleece jacket and getting onto the presidential campaign trail this year?” Baker asked.

“No,” said Youngkin. “I’m going to be working in Virginia this year.”

“Our House and Senate are up for full re-election,” Youngkin continued, referencing the November elections that will decide the balance of power in Virginia’s General Assembly. “I have a House that’s controlled by Republicans and a Senate that’s controlled by Democrats. I want to hold our House and flip our Senate.”

Youngkin has gotten the "will you; won't you" question for the better part of a year and mostly said he was focused on Virginia, but never flat out said "no."

Since Youngkin took office in 2022, some Republicans have seen him as a potential candidate for national elections.

Many of the themes and messages Youngkin used in his 2021 campaign — like railing against “critical race theory,” backing parental choice in public education, and calling out COVID-19 protections — have been adopted by other Republican politicians.

But Youngkin failed to garner any real headway in recent national polling, which generally shows former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis well ahead of any challengers.

Youngkin's critics have argued his flirtations with national Republican politics have brought harmful policies and ideas into Virginia, such as new model policies for transgender students and proposed alterations to Virginia’s U.S. history standards of learning.

Virginia Republicans have mostly fallen in line behind Youngkin as their standard bearer.

“I think we’re doing a very good job in Virginia, and I think that’s a chance to bring that to voters,” Youngkin said Monday. “I haven’t written a book, and I’m not in Iowa. I’m spending time representing Virginians this year.”

“So, in the words of LBJ, you will not seek, and if nominated you will not serve and accept the Republican nomination for President of the United States?” Baker pressed.

“What I am excited about is that America seems to be paying attention to what’s going on in Virginia,” Youngkin responded. “I believe what we’re demonstrating is, first of all, we can do this differently, and we can bring common sense solutions to bear on some of these perennially challenging problems. And those common-sense solution work.”

CBS 6 Political Analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth has previously said while Youngkin might not be in line for the presidential nomination, he seemed well positioned to become a Vice Presidential nominee, depending on who tops the GOP ticket.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was updated to indicate Governor Youngkin said he had no plans to run for president this year, as opposed to ever, leading up to the 2024 presidential election.

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