Two years after his dramatic capture of the Virginia governorship, Glenn Youngkin already was being boomed as a late-starting candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 — speculation about which he did little to dampen.
But on Tuesday, after his party failed miserably in a drive backed personally by Youngkin to capture the state senate — the Old Dominion State governor's dreams of a White House bid seemed to have evaporated.
Worse, Youngkin even lost Republican control of the lower House of Delegates to the Democrats.
The governor now faces two years of a legislature with Democrat majorities in both houses and thus very capable of thwarting his conservative agenda on issues ranging from abortion to taxes.
"I cannot see much talk anymore about him jumping into the presidential in 2024," Mark Rozell, dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University (Va.) told Newsmax. "He put his political capital on the line in the Virginia elections this year and lost."
Rozell argued that the issue of abortion and fear that a Republican governor and legislature would try to curb access to abortion fueled the Democrat surge that dashed Youngkin's ambitions.
Other experts suggested with a strong economy – low unemployment and inflation on the decline – voters are just reluctant to make changes.
"The issue of abortion rights drove Democratic turnout in key races," Rozell said. "Despite what Youngkin and some GOP candidates said about a 15-week ban, many voters believed a Republican majority in both houses would pass an outright ban and Youngkin would sign it."
Rozell's view was seconded strongly by Henry Olsen, Senior Fellow at the Center for Ethics and Public Policy and nationally-syndicated columnist, "It's a sign that Democrats and moderate independents are worked up to protect abortion rights, and that's enough to spur turnout and persuasion in very close races. Youngkin will now not make a late entry into the GOP presidential contest."
National Democrats poured big dollars of their own into the legislative races.
Democrat candidates themselves appeared to validate the conclusion of Rozell and Olsen by increasingly bringing up the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade and leaving the legality of abortion up to the states.
In the last week, they brought in their MVP, former President Barack Obama, who was on robocalls to an estimated 100,000 voters in select districts.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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