Republicans saw success in Virginia's 2021 gubernatorial election after losing the White House and Senate in 2020, but are struggling to duplicate that model heading into the midterm elections, according to the National Journal.
"In the aftermath of Glenn Youngkin’s upset victory in the Virginia governor’s race, Republicans have been scrambling to find other candidates in the image of the outsider businessman who was able to keep some distance from former President Trump. As one Youngkin adviser told National Journal, the key to swing-state success is finding a Republican candidate who can check just enough of the necessary boxes to satisfy Trump supporters while also showcasing the promise of electability in a general election. Having millions in personal funds to spend on the campaign doesn’t hurt, either," Josh Kraushaar reported.
Youngkin, the former CEO of the private-equity firm the Carlyle Group, triumphed over former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) in November.
Kraushaar describes a few wealthy Republicans running statewide as "pragmatic business leaders," but the energy in GOP primaries has been focused on loyalty to Trump, not the ability to win over voters in general elections.
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"Despite Youngkin’s success, Republicans aren’t rushing to the corporate boardroom to recruit candidates. Blame the party’s current populist orientation and its instinctive mistrust of elites of all types. A recent Gallup poll found that only 18 percent of Americans trust big business and just 33 percent trust banks, with GOP voters showing just as much skepticism towards the business elite as their Democratic counterparts. Being exceptionally wealthy, as nearly all business leaders are, is often a turnoff for voters," he wrote.
He concluded that "Youngkin was a political unicorn who will be difficult to replicate for Republicans in the midterms. Not a lot of wealthy businessmen looking for their opportunity to run for office will have as much natural political talent as the Virginia governor-elect. And they’ll be contending with a Republican electorate that’s primed to distrust the financial elite. These days, it’s a safer bet that Republican voters will gravitate to a celebrity doctor with Trump’s knack for publicity than a hedge-fund manager introducing themselves to the public for the first time."
Read the full report.