RENO, Nev. – Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin took his I’m-not-really-thinking-about-running-for-president tour Thursday to one of many key states for early voting contests within the 2024 Republican presidential nominating course of, with a pair of marketing campaign stops for Nevada’s Republican nominee for governor.

“Virginians had an opportunity to make a press release final yr, and we did. Now, it’s your probability,” Youngkin advised a crowd of about 150 gathered on the Nevada Trucking Affiliation’s headquarters in a high-ceiling storage decked out with an enormous U.S. flag behind the stage. “The headwaters of a pink wave that we began in Virginia can unfold throughout the whole nation.”

Earlier within the day, he had spoken to about 300 supporters of Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo at Liberty Baptist. The church is known for its anti-gay and no exceptions anti-abortion stance and is positioned in a working-class neighborhood of stucco condominium complexes and procuring facilities a couple of miles north of the Las Vegas Strip.

Neither of these subjects got here up, although, in both Lombardo’s or Youngkin’s remarks. As a substitute, the main target was on the supposed failure of Democratic governors across the nation, present Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak amongst them, of their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Youngkin spent a very good portion of his speech portray a grim image of Virginia throughout 2021, with faculties nonetheless not reopened and plenty of companies both shut down or working at decreased capacities due to “progressive, liberal” leaders, he claimed.

“Does that sound acquainted, Nevada?” Youngkin stated.

That, plus rising violent crime charges and Democrats’ efforts to show “vital race idea” within the public faculties led to Virginians coming collectively to elect him to the governor, Youngkin advised the group.

“These usually are not Republican values. These are American values we’re speaking about,” he added.

Lombardo, who based on latest polling is just about tied with Sisolak, stated he was grateful for Youngkin’s go to, which included a Lake Tahoe fundraiser sandwiched between the 2 public occasions.

“I imagine in his basis, his platform, and what he’s attempting to attain in Virginia is synonymous, is strictly what I’m attempting to attain within the state of Nevada,” Lombardo stated. “And that’s why he’s standing right here as we speak.”

Political unknown to presidential materials

Youngkin spent the majority of his grownup life with the Carlyle Group personal fairness agency, co-running it his final three years and amassing a nine-figure private fortune. He determined to go away the agency in 2020 to enter politics.

Many Republicans felt that statewide workplaces there have been out of attain for his or her celebration. Virginia had been trending towards Democratic lately capped off with a double-digit victory by Joe Biden over then-President Donald Trump within the 2020 presidential election.

However Youngkin targeted on parental anger over lasting pandemic-related faculty closures within the Democratic suburbs of Washington, D.C. He appealed to pro-Trump Republicans by promising to finish “vital race idea” in faculties, which many Trump supporters took as a pledge to deemphasize the educating of slavery and segregation.

As necessary within the populous northern Virginia suburbs, although, was Youngkin’s refusal to unfold lies concerning the 2020 election having been “stolen” from Trump. Youngkin usually prevented speaking about Trump in any respect. Whereas at one level Trump promised to marketing campaign for Youngkin earlier than the election, in the long run, he stayed out of the state.

On Election Day, the Trump distancing appeared to have labored. Northern Virginia neighborhoods the place Trump had no seen help in 2020 sprouted pink with “Youngkin for governor” indicators only a yr later. He additionally benefited from record-high turnout in rural Virginia counties the place aggrieved Trump supporters remained offended concerning the 2020 election end result.

The web end result: Youngkin managed to eke out a 2-point win statewide, which immediately made him a star amongst Republican consultants and donors nationally.

Youngkin, who took workplace in January, initially answered hypothesis a few potential 2024 presidential run by saying he was targeted solely on Virginia. That reply started evolving inside a couple of months, till by June, when he visited New York Metropolis to fulfill with main Republican donors. He had already begun saying he was “humbled” by the query and that he had not made any selections but.

“We’ll see what comes subsequent,” he told Fox News on June 27.

Days later, Youngkin visited Nebraska on July 9 to help Republican candidates. He visited Michigan on Aug. 27 to spice up GOP nominee Tudor Dixon in her problem to Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. And earlier this month, he was in Maine for a fundraiser for Paul LePage, the previous Republican governor who’s now attempting to return to that job.

Nonetheless to return for Youngkin are journeys to Georgia, Kansas and New Mexico to assist Republican gubernatorial candidates in these states, as properly, with visits to Colorado, Oregon and Wisconsin additionally attainable.

On Thursday, he laughed off a query about his go to to an early 2024 state. “You’re very type,” he stated. “That is my most necessary go to to Nevada to help Joe Lombardo. And I believe that is what Republican governors did for me final yr.”

Whereas some Republicans, together with Maryland Gov Larry Hogan, have made some extent to not assist candidates who’ve unfold Trump’s lies concerning the 2020 election having been “stolen” from him, Youngkin has not.

Dixon in Michigan, for instance, usually pushed Trump’s lies throughout her main election marketing campaign, whereas LePage has by no means stopped spreading them. Youngkin can also be open to a visit to Arizona to assist Kari Lake, the GOP candidate for governor who’s among the many most prolific spreaders of Trump’s elections falsehoods amongst present GOP office-seekers.

Whereas Youngkin throughout his marketing campaign for the nomination didn’t declare that the election had been stolen from Trump, he did denounce it as a lie. It wasn’t till one of many televised debates with Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe that Youngkin lastly stated that Biden had been legitimately elected in 2020.

Right this moment, Youngkin prefers to keep away from the difficulty solely. In a July look on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” he was requested 3 times whether or not Trump ought to cease mendacity concerning the election. And 3 times he modified the topic and wouldn’t reply.

“I believe what I did final yr was I targeted on 2021. And we had 5,000 folks come and volunteer at elections and that gave all people confidence in our election course of,” he stated, referring to ballot watchers his marketing campaign recruited. “They confirmed up, they voted in report numbers for a governor’s race, and we received.”

On Thursday, Youngkin declined to touch upon candidates who proceed to push Trump’s lies. As a substitute, he provided the usual reply many mainstream Republicans have settled upon. “We now have to look ahead. That’s what we’ve to do as Republicans. The truth after all is that we’ve to work to make folks really feel extra assured concerning the election course of,” he stated.

Serving to his model whereas serving to others

Lombardo on the Las Vegas and Reno appearances thanked Youngkin for his help within the coming election. However the actuality might be the other. Youngkin stays largely unknown among the many voting public nationally, and his go to will doubtless assist him lay the groundwork for a 2024 presidential run excess of it should assist Lombardo six weeks from now.

“I’ve heard of him,” stated Randall Carney, 68, a ministry pupil and Lombardo supporter procuring at a Walmart grocery retailer lower than a mile from Liberty Baptist. Carney had not heard concerning the marketing campaign occasion on the eve of Youngkin’s go to. Nevertheless, he additionally appeared unclear about who he was, asking, “His final title is Younger?”

David Barron, 67 and a retired autoworker from Pennsylvania who now works part-time at Walmart stated he was conscious of Youngkin’s win in Virginia. “I do know he ran on that vital race idea stuff, no matter that’s,” he stated throughout a cigarette break.

Jean Adams, who’s 70 and stated she recollects watching the Kennedy-Nixon debate on tv as a toddler, stated she is aware of all about Youngkin. “He’s obtained a future,” she stated.

As as to if his journey would matter in November is one other matter. “I don’t know if that many individuals are paying consideration,” Adams stated.

Not less than one particular person, nonetheless, does look like paying shut consideration to Youngkin and his newfound attraction: Trump.

On Sept. 6, days after a clip of Youngkin awkwardly dancing to Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit within the Sky” in his pink vest at Dixon’s rally made the rounds on social media, Trump tried to take credit score for Youngkin’s 2021 victory on his Fact Social website.

“Helped him get elected – large time,” Trump wrote. “Press refused to acknowledge, however that’s OK – the folks know!”

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