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No Presidential Run for Youngkin?

This isn't too much of a surprise, but Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA), who might plausibly be a slightly kinder, gentler alternative to Donald Trump/Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), has made it official and announced he won't be running for president in 2024. Probably.

As you might guess from that wording, Youngkin is being at least a little bit weaselly here. What he actually said was that he would not be running for president "this year." Since it's currently 2023, he could honor that pledge, and yet launch a campaign on Jan. 1, 2024. And in case there's any doubt that the Governor is keeping that technicality in mind, he dispatched an aide to explain to reporters that this did not mean a run was completely off the table. "This was not an announcement or a definite decline," explained the Youngkin lackey.

We guess this is a reasonably sound approach. Donald Trump is sucking up all the oxygen and most of the endorsements, and may have this thing sewn up pretty soon. In that case, there's always 2028, and no need for Youngkin to aggravate The Donald. On the other hand, if Trump and DeSantis both falter, then the Governor is the kind of candidate who might plausibly pick up the pieces. He's whackadoodle enough (maybe) for the Trumpers but normal enough (maybe) for the sane Republicans. That's pretty much how he managed to win the gubernatorial election in 2021.

That said, if Youngkin does decide to change course and to enter the race, he probably can't wait until "next year." There are the Republican candidates' debates later this year, and he would really need that opportunity to introduce himself to a national audience. Further, January 1 is really too late to seriously contest Iowa, New Hampshire and the other early contests. And if a candidate waits until Super Tuesday to get serious about collecting delegates, well, ask Rudy Giuliani how that worked out.

What it amounts to is that Youngkin is a soft "no" right now, and it's probably 3-4 months until Youngkin moves from the limp Sherman to the full Sherman. (Z)

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