GOP governor’s ‘massive’ appeal to Democrats could be trouble for Biden if picked as Trump’s VP: insiders

Political insiders say Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin's bipartisan appeal could be trouble for President Biden if he's selected as former President Trump's running mate.

Editor’s note: This is the seventh in a series of profiles of potential running mates for presidential candidate Donald Trump on the 2024 Republican Party ticket.

A potential name on former President Trump’s running mate shortlist is being lauded for his “massive” bipartisan appeal by political insiders who say his possible selection could spell trouble for President Biden in key swing states this November.

Trump has suggested he will announce his pick for vice president at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee next month, and is rumored to be considering a long list of names that notably includes Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a rising star within the party.

“He’s brought to the job skills honed by decades of helping buy and improve companies, taking them from good or broken to great!” veteran Republican strategist Karl Rove told Fox News Digital, referencing Youngkin’s experience in the private sector prior to successfully running for governor in 2021.


“In doing so, he’s earned a reputation for strong leadership and making government work for the people,” Rove said, praising his so far “successful” tenure leading a Democrat-leaning state while “pursuing an ambitious agenda of education reform, parental rights, economic growth and job creation.”

Rove added that Youngkin’s “victory in a state Biden won by 10 points causes many observers to stress his bipartisan appeal,” a point fellow Republican strategist Erin Perrine said extended to his “governance success” and reflected his “ability to appeal across party lines.”

Perrine told Fox that Youngkin’s strong approval ratings across Virginia, which polls put at over 50%, was because of his “effective leadership,” and that his appeal to even Democrats “would be absolutely massive during a general election campaign.”

“Couple that with Virginia showing signs of possibly being competitive due to dissatisfaction within the Democratic base toward Biden, who would need to count on the support of deeply blue Northern Virginia to win the state,” Perrine said.

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A Fox News poll released earlier this month showed Trump and Biden in a dead heat with voters in Virginia, a state no Republican presidential candidate has won since former President George W. Bush’s re-election in 2004.


“Donors appreciate Youngkin’s brand of Republican politics, which balances conservative values with pragmatic governance and could help with bringing in more dollars to the campaign,” Perrine said, adding that another of his “major advantages” was the “ease of his relationship with Trump” while other potential running mates “fight so hard to get in front of Trump and have him like them.” 

“Couple that with the potential to flip Virginia electorally. In 2021, Youngkin defeated Democrat and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe in a state President Joe Biden had won by 10 points just a year earlier. That victory shows his capability to attract swing voters and energize the Republican base in pivotal states, enhancing the GOP’s electoral prospects.”

Democratic strategist Kevin Walling also noted Youngkin’s ability to attract support from across party lines, crediting his “sunny optimism” that he said plays well across the commonwealth, and led to “a unique coalition of MAGA, traditional Republicans, and independents” putting him in the governor’s mansion.

“He could possibly help win over Nikki Haley voters, independents, and maybe some disaffected Democrats as a balance on the ticket,” he said. “Yet, Trump seems to care less about optimism, electability and balance, and more about picking someone who will just be his attack dog and ‘yes man.'”

While Youngkin “shocked the political universe” with his stunning victory in 2021, Walling said that success, as well as his high approval rating, didn’t translate to victories in legislative elections last year when Republicans lost control of the Virginia House of Delegates and fell short of winning a majority in the Virginia Senate.

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“While he was a very successful business person before his only campaign, which would seem to mesh with Donald Trump’s background, he may be much more well suited for a cabinet position in the Trump administration or as the frontrunner in 2028 if Trump loses in 2024 again,” Walling said.

“Youngkin is worrisome as a nominee in 2028, and would be a worrisome vice presidential pick in 2024. But I think there’s zero chance he’s the party’s nominee for vice president this cycle.”

Rove and Perrine also argued there were some downsides to Youngkin’s potential selection, including aspects of his private business career and his relatively small amount of experience holding elected office.

“He’s in his first, and only, term and has only one campaign under his belt,” Rove said, adding he would likely face scrutiny for being extremely wealthy from his career in finance.

“Youngkin is popular in Virginia but not as widely known on the national stage as other potential VP candidates. His appeal overlaps with that of North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Sen. Tim Scott, meaning he might not stand out in terms of fundraising potential compared,” Perrine said. 


“Additionally, Youngkin’s pragmatic, CEO-level approach is nicely wired to navigating the business community, whereas other VP candidates have been members on Capitol Hill, which would mean the Hill and its twists and turns are a little more uncharted for Youngkin than others, but a strong background in relationship building that can still balance it,” she said.

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A source close to Youngkin told Fox News Digital the governor was not looking to elevate himself amid Trump’s running mate search. 

“There’s no ambition here,” the source said, adding Youngkin’s only goal was to help Trump compete against Biden in Virginia. “The focus is winning, and that decision is up to the president and his team.”

Youngkin, who largely kept his distance from Trump during his 2021 campaign, told Fox News Digital in an interview earlier this month that he “fully endorsed” the former president in his bid to oust Biden, and said he planned “to enthusiastically campaign” for him to win.

The governor spoke just ahead of Trump at Saturday’s Faith & Freedom Coalition’s annual Road to Majority conference in Washington, D.C., issuing a call to action to get the former president back into the White House, as well as for strengthened Republican majorities in Congress.

Youngkin also met Trump for the first time earlier this month, fanning the already circulating rumors of his potential running mate consideration, although there have notably been no reports or confirmations he’s actually been included in any ongoing vetting process.

Others who have been floated as possibilities to join Trump on the Republican ticket include House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Sanders, Ohio Sen. JD Vance, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.

Fox News Digital’s Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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