Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis are two of the biggest names in Republican politics. But they are taking markedly different approaches to campaigning halfway through – and possibly into 2024.
The big picture: Youngkin is bypassing MAGA-oriented gubernatorial candidates in favor of pragmatists who run tough races in blue states. DeSantis took a look at some of the party’s most controversial candidates.
By the numbers: DeSantis has campaigned for 7 Senate or gubernatorial candidates this year. Six of them are endorsed by Trump.
- Youngkin has helped or plans to help 10 GOP gubernatorial candidates. Only 3 of them have Trump’s support, and 8 of the 10 are running in states that President Biden carried in 2020.
The plot: Youngkin is campaigning for only one incumbent governor — Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, whom Trump worked against during the primary.
There is only one gubernatorial candidate with committed support from DeSantis and Youngkin: Mark Ronchetti of New Mexico, whom Trump did not endorse.
What we are looking at: In August, DeSantis campaigned for several Trump-endorsed candidates, including Senate candidates JD Vance in Ohio and Blake Masters in Arizona.
- He also followed the trail of Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano – whom the Republican Governors Association (RGA) declined to support – as well as Kari Lake in Arizona.
- The campaign swing announced by Youngkin does not include Arizona, where Lake is locked in tight competition. He’s also set to skip Pennsylvania, where Trump will hold his first rally for the 2022 general election on Saturday.
Youngkin does not campaign in the Senate races, but he campaigns in person or hosts fundraisers for GOP gubernatorial candidates in Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, Nebraska, New Mexico and from Oregon. Kansas will be added to this list.
- Youngkin and DeSantis will campaign for GOP House candidates in their home states.
What they say : DeSantis spokeswoman Lindsey Curnutte told Axios, “The governor supports candidates who align with the freedom agenda we’ve created in Florida.”
- Youngkin’s political adviser, Kristin Davison, told Axios, “He’s thrilled to bring the spirit of Virginia to swing states that look a lot like Virginia last year, to transform the states’ losing culture blues into a spirit of victory and to help transform these purple and blue states. indicates red.”
Our thought bubble: If Youngkin helps elect Republican governors in blue states like New Mexico and Oregon, while Trump and DeSantis candidates in redder states fall to defeat, that would send a powerful message than the traditional conservative message. de Youngkin is a winner for the party.