On Monday, the Huffington Post reported that the move by Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) to campaign for Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake has triggered negative reactions from anti-Trump Republican analysts — including people who had felt positive about him during his initial campaign for keeping the former president at arm's length.
“I feel a little duped myself in how I saw his candidacy,” said former Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) of Youngkin's move. “It may be we put too much stock in Youngkin the candidate instead of realizing his race was likely just an exercise in matching a message with where the constituency was for the Virginia general election.” Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), however, had a different view: “He didn’t run as a ‘normal’ Republican. He ran as an enabler of the crazies. In today’s GOP, there are crazies and there are enablers of the crazies. His helping Kari Lake, a crazy, get elected, is not a surprise and reinforces his status as an enabler.”
"Youngkin, who took office in January, narrowly defeated Democratic former Gov. Terry McAuliffe in a race that turned on Youngkin’s ability to spur high turnout among Trump supporters in rural Virginia counties while trimming his losses in the state’s northern suburbs, where Trump is largely loathed," reported S.V. Date. "He did so by emphasizing education, crime and inflation while largely ignoring Trump’s election lies. His ability to win a state that Biden carried by double digits in 2020 immediately made him a potential contender in the eyes of major GOP donors."
Youngkin, who is limited to one consecutive term under Virginia law, has made other campaign appearances, including one backing Nevada gubernatorial candidate Joe Lombardo. But Lake is one of the most controversial statewide candidates put up by the GOP in the cycle.
A former local news anchor who became a Trump acolyte after previously supporting President Barack Obama, Lake has been one of the most prominent proponents of the lie the 2020 election was stolen, even calling for her opponent, Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, to be arrested. She has also called for mass expulsions of homeless people from Arizona, has appeared on stage with QAnon supporters and Nazi sympathizers, and endorsed an Oklahoma Republican who said "the Jews" are evil.
“It’s expected that Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis would campaign for Kari Lake," said one unnamed GOP consultant to the Huffington Post. "It’s very frustrating to see Glenn Youngkin cast his lot with them as opposed to standing with the sane and rational Republicans who recognize that our party will never move forward if we embrace election deniers and condone their dangerous lies. While he may see political upside to appealing to the QAnon crowd as he grows his national brand, he’s doing permanent damage to any chance of being seen as a responsible leader with respected principles.”