The Wild Thing — Will Glenn Youngkin Run for President?

by Chris Saxman

The most often asked question I get these days is whether or not Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin will run for president.

*Pro tip* — Until they’re out, they’re in.

If ever there was a next-generation Republican that checks enough boxes to get nominated and elected president, that Republican is Glenn Youngkin.

Do you know that reaction among women (especially girls) when a very attractive woman walks in a room? Sometimes it’s audible…

They can have NO idea who that woman actually is, but they instantly form this well-constructed opinion:


And after meeting the prejudged, some will admit — very rarely mind you — “Damn it. She’s actually really nice. Just don’t make me stand next to her in a picture!”

“Wait, are you calling the Governor of Virginia A BITCH?”

Of course not.

I will admit that it would have been a great clickbait headline and I did consider going viral; HOWEVER, the point is that Glenn is — now brace yourselves everyone — a good guy.

Quick run down: In addition to being smart, successful (BIGLY), competent, tough, and disciplined, Youngkin is genuinely a nice guy — a true family man with a genuine faith in God that doesn’t alienate. He opens every meeting with a prayer. He’s strong enough in his faith that you don’t feel uncomfortable with your own.

A good baseline for anyone considering a run at national office, right?

In baseball terms, Youngkin is a five tool prospect — he can run, throw, catch, hit, and hit for power. Very rare. First round draft pick, good signing bonus.

As a candidate, he is relentlessly on message, data-driven, exceptional at retail politics, raises gobs of not his own money, and at six and a half feet with a massive bank account, Glenn Youngkin instantly commands a room. All eyes shift to him.

“Wait? Do you mean…”


“No. I can’t. I can’t get hurt again.”

“It’s OK  … really …”

“Does he have … you know …”

“Say it … you’re safe here.”



“Damn it.”

In the spring of 2021, my observations of Glenn Youngkin made me start using a word, in public, I never thought I would utter about any politician — “unicorn.” I told John “Trump before Trump was Trump” Fredericks on his radio show and even wrote about it:

“He’s as close to a unicorn as it gets for Virginia Republicans.”

Then Youngkin did the most important thing he could have done to be in the national conversation about who will be the next president – he won.

But wait, what’s the one box he doesn’t check?

We’ll get there.

After winning the governor’s race in 2021, Youngkin received, as almost all newly-elected governors do, an education on actually being the Governor of Virginia.

With Virginia’s successful non-successive gubernatorial term, there is a LOT of power with what some, including myself, call the Be Team:

I Be Here when you got elected and I Be Here you’re gone.

Most jobs are temp jobs, but this one clearly is.

The nanosecond he was declared the winner, Glenn Youngkin was a lame duck governor.

If one wants to get things done while one is governor, one has to work with both chambers of the General Assembly. And for the most part, they really don’t care who the governor is. Regardless of party.

Sure, they all have opinions and preferences; however, the vast majority of legislators (OK … ALL of them) care about their own re-elections well before they care about the future electoral chances of the sitting lame duck governor.

Has Glenn Youngkin completely adjusted to that reality? Depends on who you ask. Legislators, from both parties, will say no. Capitol Square veterans will say, “he’s getting there” and Team Youngkin will give a rosier analysis.

All are correct. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The Governor of Virginia always experiences this and it’s a very good thing in the long run.

Why? Because regardless of party, the power of the executive branch is checked and we live, relatively speaking, in balance. As such, there are very few highs and very few lows. Virginia doesn’t jerk the wheel too far right or too far left.

Look, the most important thing for Virginia’s governor is not screwing up. I’m not saying it’s a low bar or that the job is not important. I’m saying that Virginia’s governing structure demands that the executive branch work WITH the legislative branch because the governor only has four years to get things done.

Virginia demands collaboration, consensus, and … uh oh not the C word…(YES) compromise. Those tend not to play well with primary voters at the national level.

And then … off the ex-governors go. The Be Team remains waiting for the next contestant on The Price is Right.

“Would you JUST TELL US what the one box that Glenn Youngkin doesn’t check???”


Well, not yet.

But I will tease you out more by quoting candidate Glenn Youngkin back to Governor and presidential aspirant Glenn Youngkin:

Bad leaders work hard on the wrong problem.

No. I am not calling Youngkin a bad leader. His administration is getting some good things done and, as with all governors, there are some mistakes. Par for the course.

That one box left to check IS the problem.

Should he run for POTUS2024 — the musical, donors and primary voters will grow to like Youngkin just as Virginians have. Why? He’s competent and likable.

First things, first.

He passes the “Can he do the job?” test.

He gets on base. Do you care about much else?


“You do not.”

Like all politicians, Youngkin will solve the hole in his swing once he finds it.

That’s the last box to check and the other team usually finds it first.

Want to know what it is?

Sorry, but I get paid to do the wild thing.

Here’s a hint — all the other contestants are focused on the wrong problems.

All of them.

Chris Saxman is a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates. This column is republished with permission from The Intersection.