Donald Trump at the moment is the runaway leader in polls trying to gauge who will win the Republican nomination for the 2024 presidential election, but his legal troubles are casting doubts on whether he could win the general election.
It also appears that the rest of the Republican candidates who have entered the race haven’t gained a lot of traction with voters and donors.
On the contrary, the man many Republicans felt was the best option to beat Trump and be the face of the party, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, has slipped in popularity and seen donors stop backing him in the months since he announced his candidacy.
With that in mind, some Republicans donors are turning to another hope who hasn’t officially entered the race: Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
The 56-year-old Youngkin made a fortune as CEO of a private-equity firm before running for governor of Virginia in 2021.
Youngkin turned heads by defeating Democratic incumbent Terry McAullffe by 2 percentage points in the vote, and his stock has only risen since.
Now, prominent Republicans are hoping he’ll officially launch a bid for president, even if he’s stated he’s undecided on the matter.
His indecisiveness hasn’t stopped two rich donors, Florida billionaire Thomas Peterffy and media mogul Rupert Murdoch, from pledging their support for Youngkin.
Peterffy has reportedly given $2 million to Youngkin’s political action committee after stopping his donations and support to the DeSantis campaign, while Murdoch is also trying to convince Youngkin to run after previously being a DeSantis backer.
USA Today also reported that Youngkin in August was invited to a meet and greet with wealthy Republican donors at the mansion of Wilbur Ross, former Commerce Secretary under Trump.
In July, the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University conducted a hypothetical poll between Youngkin and President Joe Biden among Virginia voters.
Youngkin won that poll by seven points.
In similar hypothetical races conducted by VCU, Biden beat Trump and split with DeSantis.
The significance of that poll is that Virginians have elected the eventual winning president all but one time since 2000, with the only exception being 2016.
According to an article in Vanity Fair, political strategists feel Youngkin might be waiting until after Virginia’s General Assembly election in November to enter the race.
If Youngkin helps Republicans win the majority in both the state Senate and House of Delegates, that would give him a big springboard toward a presidential run, according to the article.
It might be early in the process with only one debate having taken place, but prominent Republicans clearly aren’t liking the direction of their current crop of candidates as the party tries to reclaim the White House next year.
Because of that, they are turning their attention to a trump card as the party’s next great hope, and he’s not named Donald Trump.