Republican governors embrace Youngkin playbook as winning model for midterms
Republican governors are anything but "tired of winning," and in Phoenix at the annual Republican Governors Association conference, it became clear that may not be the only point on which the party and the former president diverge.
Fresh off a national upset win in Virginia and a near-miss in New Jersey, the group of high-profile Republican governors and their strategists are now tasked with replicating their momentum across the map in some of the most highly competitive midterm races in decades -- a goal actively complicated by former President Donald Trump's continued endorsement of primary challengers to incumbent governors who have fallen out of his personal favor. And plans on how they navigate the minefield of remaining undistracted by Trump while not alienating him or his supporters remain fuzzy.
Rather than embracing or denouncing the former president, the over a dozen governors present who spoke publicly at the conference stressed that their path to winning lies in drilling down on issues-based campaigning -- focusing on things like increasing police funding, combatting higher taxes, curbing immigration, ensuring election security, allowing parents a bigger role in public schools and other cultural issues like so-called "critical race theory."
And to the highly confident Republican Governors Association, there is no more perfect blueprint than freshly-elected Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, who pulled off a gubernatorial win in a reliable blue state in part by nationalizing local issues while keeping the former president, and his continued gripes surrounding the 2020 election, at arm's length.