by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
GOP megadonors are privately courting popular Republican Govs. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia and Brian Kemp of Georgia to challenge former President Donald Trump in 2024, Axios reported Saturday.
As Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has struggled to gain traction in the polls against the former president, the Republican contributors are seeking other potential alternatives to jump in last minute, according to Axios. Though Youngkin and Kemp have both previously ruled out a 2024 bid, several sources told the outlet they’re keeping the door open as top donors reach out.
“People are desperate. They are concerned with what could happen if Trump wins the primaries and they want a viable alternative,” a Republican source told Axios.
Billionaire Ronald Lauder is one of the GOP donors who would potentially back Youngkin if he makes a White House bid, sources who spoke with him told Axios. Billionaire Thomas Peterffy, who previously supported DeSantis for president, recently dropped $2 million into Youngkin’s Spirt of Virginia political action committee (PAC).
Rupert Murdoch, who heads Fox News and the New York Post, is quietly hoping Youngkin challenges the four-time-indicted former president, according to Axios.
“Virginia’s getting attention because Governor Youngkin’s common-sense conservative leadership is working. There’s more to do, so the governor’s not taking his eye off Virginia; these (legislative) races are too important,” Spirit of Virginia PAC Chairman Dave Rexrode said in a statement provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Youngkin maintains that he’s solely focused on Virginia when asked about a 2024 bid, and said May 1 that he wouldn’t run for president “this year.” Despite previously ruling it out, Axios reported in late May that Youngkin was “reconsidering” a presidential campaign.
A Republican strategist familiar with Youngkin and the super PAC’s positioning stressed the governor’s focus on the November legislative elections in a statement to the DCNF.