by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Virginia Gov Glenn Youngkin (R) hopes to showcase a political versatility that advisers believe makes him a potent 2024 contender when he travels to Austin, Texas, to sit for an in-depth Texas Tribune Festival interview.
Youngkin recently concluded a slate of strategically choreographed campaign swings through key 2022 battlegrounds, stumping for populist Republicans aligned with former President Donald Trump, among them Tudor Dixon and Paul LePage, GOP gubernatorial nominees in Michigan and Maine, respectively. This Friday in Austin, Youngkin aims to show he is equally comfortable — appealing, even — under a media spotlight and in front of voters, often skeptical of conservative Republicans like Virginia’s governor.
Youngkin is scheduled Friday morning to take the stage of the Paramount Theater in downtown Austin for a one-on-one newsmaker interview and accompanying Q&A session with a politically interested audience that tends to skew center-left. The annual Texas Tribune Festival, sponsored by the Texas Tribune, draws thousands of spectators from all over the country and features a heavy media contingent from New York and Washington.
Next up for Youngkin, in October, is a trip to swing-state Arizona to campaign for Republican gubernatorial nominee and populist Trump acolyte Kari Lake, as reported by Politico. Youngkin senior political adviser Kristin Davis would not reveal the governor’s other battleground travel plans and declined to address speculation about his political future, focusing instead on the Republican’s effort to boost his party’s prospects in the midterm elections.
“As Gov. Youngkin has said, Republicans make better governors than Democrats. Red states are seeing better results than blue states,” Davis said Monday. “To flip blue states and win the tough races, the governor believes in doing the tough work, just as he did last November to flip Virginia.”