RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) will host Republican donors at the Historic Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach for a two-day retreat three weeks before the pivotal Nov. 7 state elections.
Youngkin’s second “Red Vest Retreat” – named after his signature campaign look – will be from Oct. 17 to Oct. 18, according to a copy of an invitation obtained by 8News.
The retreat, first reported by CBS News’ Robert Costa in the Washington Post, comes after the first was held in the Charlottesville area last September, the Post reported.
The goal of the retreat, 8News has learned, is to help boost the fundraising hauls for Virginia Republicans and Youngkin’s Spirit of Virginia PAC ahead of the state’s crucial elections.
Republicans control the House of Delegates and Democrats have a majority in the Virginia Senate. All 140 state legislative seats are on the ballot this year (some candidates are running unopposed), giving each party a chance to win full control of the Virginia General Assembly.
If Republicans flip the Senate and keep the House, the party will be able to push forward Youngkin’s legislative agenda, including an abortion ban after 15 weeks, next year. If Democrats hold the Senate and take control of the House, they could block those efforts and deflate the presidential buzz around Youngkin.
Stressing the importance of this year’s elections, Youngkin has held campaign events across Virginia and raised millions for Republican candidates.
So far, Democrats have been able to outraise Republicans as both parties seek to win total control of the Virginia General Assembly, but Youngkin’s PAC has helped Republicans keep pace in the money race with significant donations from GOP megadonors.
But in his Washington Post piece, Costa reported that GOP megadonors attending the retreat will also be angling to see whether they can entice Youngkin to jump into the 2024 presidential primary.
Youngkin has maintained that he’s focused on helping Republicans win in Virginia, not a potential White House bid, reiterating the point in a recent sit-down talk with his former boss at the Carlyle Group.
In response to Costa’s story, Dave Rexrode, Youngkin’s special advisor and chairman of his PAC, said the governor “solely focused on our Virginia legislative elections.”
Rich Meagher, associate professor of political science at Randolph-Macon College, said on Sept. 22 that he thinks it’s likely too late for Youngkin to throw his name in the Republican primary for president but that nothing is off the table with former President Donald Trump, the frontrunner, under indictment.
“I think he’s [Youngkin] smart to recognize that a victory for Republicans this fall in the legislative races here in Virginia is a victory for him in his future endeavors, whatever that may be,” Meagher said, pointing to a potential Senate run or the vice presidency for Youngkin.
Early voting in Virginia started Sept. 22. Election Day — when polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. — is Nov. 7.