Former business executive and political outsider, Glenn Youngkin has officially joined the 2021 Virginia governor’s race seeking the Republican nomination.
Youngkin, 54, made the formal announcement through an online statement and campaign video released on Wednesday.
“I’m running for governor because I believe we must rebuild and reimagine Virginia’s future and make it the best place in America to live, work, and raise a family,” Youngkin said in the statement. “As a homegrown Virginian, I can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch career politicians and insiders in Richmond turn our Commonwealth into California or New York – a place where the cost of living for families is too high and the opportunities for all Virginians to get ahead are too few.”
Unlike some of the other GOP candidates, Youngkin has never held elected office. However, Youngkin appears to be using his lack of experience in state politics and being a newcomer on the scene as a selling point of the campaign.
“I’m not a politician, and I certainly don’t have the 120 years of combined political baggage that my opponents have,” Youngkin said. “They talk a lot about solving problems, but I’ve actually done it. I spent the last 30 years building business, creating jobs, and bringing people together to succeed.”
The Virginia Star made several attempts to speak with Youngkin’s campaign regarding the announcement but did not get a response before press time.
In September, Youngkin formally retired from his position as co-chief executive officer of The Carlyle Group, a global investment firm that focuses on corporate private equity, real assets, global credit and investment solutions, where he had worked for 25 years.
After retiring from the business world, Youngkin and his wife, Suzanne, founded the Virginia Ready Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Virginians who are out-of-work due to COVID-19 get the training and education they need to secure high-demand jobs.
Over an extensive business career, Youngkin has amassed a net worth estimated to be at least $245 million, which allows him to self-fund a gubernatorial campaign if need be.
Youngkin is the 5th candidate hoping to secure the Republican party nomination to officially enter the race. He is joined by Sen. Amanda Chase, former House Speaker Del. Kirk Cox, businessman and entrepreneur Pete Snyder as well as former Trump administration official Sergio de la Peña.
On Wednesday, Cox released a cordial statement welcoming Youngkin to the race.
“Now, Glenn, other candidates, and I will have the chance to talk with Republicans across the Commonwealth about the challenges we face here at home, and our fights to defend Virginia over the last several years from collectivists Democratic policies,” Cox said. “I look forward to discussing which candidate has the proven conservative credentials, the experience to win, and the ability to unify our party in 2021.”
Chase told The Star that she did not know much about Youngkin but welcomed all competition. The legislator also self-proclaimed herself as the frontrunner in the election.
The Star also reached out to Snyder’s campaign for comment on Youngkin, but they declined to do so.
The five aforementioned GOP candidates are facing the challenge of winning the party nomination through a convention instead of a primary election this year.
After an initial vote in early December to hold a convention, members of the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) State Central Committee have split between reverting back to a primary or sticking with the plan since. On Sunday, RPV Chair Rich Anderson said he will move forward with a convention.
“Historically, conventions are highly unpredictable,” John Findlay, former RPV executive director, told The Star. “Anyone can win in the convention format and so I think Youngkin stands as good a shot as anybody getting in there. I think it’s very good that he’s a true political outsider, [having] never run for office before. I think that’s very favorable and that’s where the GOP base largely is.”
On the other side of the governor’s race, fighting for the Democratic nomination, is Terry McAuliffe, Del. Lee Carter (D-Manassas), Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond City), Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax and former delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy.
– – –