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January 10, 2022 · OPINION

What kind of governor will Glenn Youngkin be?

Photo/Appalachian School of Law
A retired private equity firm executive, Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin proved quite adept at campaigning in his first bid for elective office.
By Dwayne Yancey
Cardinal News

Glenn Youngkin is just days away from being sworn in as Virginia’s 74th governor, at which time we’ll start to learn more about the blankest of blank slates we have ever elevated to that office.

Youngkin came seemingly out of nowhere, at least politically, to win the Republican nomination for governor, besting, among others, a former speaker of the House, a sitting state senator, and a well-funded and well-connected candidate who had run once before. He did it without saying much of anything beyond standard conservative bromides. He didn’t even fill out the National Rifle Association questionnaire, something that had been considered a basic requirement. But he did have a ton of his own money and seemed to enough Republicans to be just the sort of candidate who might win back some of the suburban voters the party had lost during the Donald Trump years. At a time when many prominent Republicans – Trump foremost among them – come across as glowering, raging, perpetually angry about something, Youngkin was relentlessly easygoing and upbeat. There was a time when we’d have called that Reaganesque, although much of what Reagan stood for has fallen out of favor among certain Republicans.

For a candidate who had never run for office before, Youngkin proved to be an especially adroit campaigner during the fall campaign, keeping Trump at bay while keeping his supporters engaged. In some ways, he was the ultimate post-Trump candidate the party needed. He urged supporters to get vaccinated (although he opposed a vaccine mandate). He embraced early voting. He made a point of welcoming immigrants. He vowed to have the biggest education budget in state history. He also called for lower taxes – though never laid out exactly how he’d do that, because some of the taxes he wants cut have dedicated revenue streams – and, of course, vowed to ban an educational theory that’s not being taught anyway.

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