Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin campaigned for Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake on Wednesday with rallies in both Tucson and Scottsdale.
Youngkin won his competitive election against Democrat Terry McAullife last November with a razor-thin 50.6 percent of the vote, which largely came down to issues like education and the economy that wooed over some crucial suburban voters. As the race was so tight, it makes sense that he would want to assist other candidates throughout the nation.
”The reality is, Arizona is about grit. Arizona is about getting it done,” Youngkin said Wednesday night.
“You need a fighter and you’ve got one,” he later added.
He referred to Katie Hobbs and President Joe Biden as “agents of chaos.”
Before stopping in Arizona, Youngkin held events for both New Mexico Republican Mark Ronchetti and Oregon Republican Christine Drazan.
The red vest club has made it to the Pacific Northwest! Virginians took back their state, now it’s Oregonians’ turn! pic.twitter.com/Zs1HZ6FMht
— The RGA (@GOPGovs) October 19, 2022
This is ultimately a well-calculated move by Youngkin and Republicans to put him at the forefront. His election revealed the uphill battle Democrats face this cycle but did so a year early. Youngkin’s calm and convincing demeanor is a benefit to these candidates, especially for any moderate Republicans or Independents who may be on the fence.
His platform was the right balance between culture war issues and economic ones, and the local controversies involving school boards in the suburbs arguably boosted him as well. When culture war issues on the education front are presented in a way that shows that is palatable, which is what happened last year — suburbanites turned the tables. Republicans do not win in blue states without there being at least some aspect of frustration on the local level, and that’s what happened for Youngkin.
As Brandon Morse wrote in February:
No blue area is safe, including the deepest Democrat strongholds. As of this writing, San Francisco has ousted three school board members in recall elections with a fourth on the chopping block. Some Democrats are rattled enough that they’ve begun walking back the rules they’ve placed on their constituent’s children, including New Jersey and Deleware, President Joe Biden’s home state.
In terms of these current races, they could also be decided by extremely close margins, particularly in Oregon where it’s a three-way race. Drazan is running against Democrat Tina Kotek and Independent Betsy Johnson. This split provided a rare window for a Republican like Drazan to win, and she might just pull it off. Lake and Ronchetti’s races are conventional head-to-head match-ups, but they still need to ensure every last voter is persuaded to get over the edge.
Whether it’s Virginia, Arizona, Oregon, or New Mexico, it’s clear that Americans are going to be making highly consequential decisions this November at the ballot box. The nation is facing multiple crises at the national level, and they’ve trickled down to the average person. Inflation, concerns about fentanyl, and abortion becoming a state issue are top of mind for a lot of voters, and they’re looking for solutions. Youngkin was a solutions-oriented candidate who gained national attention for his dynamic campaign, and his presence on the trail to help his colleagues is an asset to the party’s future.