RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — An opinion piece from The Hill claimed Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin won Wednesday night’s GOP presidential debate despite not being there. Larry Sabato, Director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics says that’s a questionable conclusion.
“First of all, it’s only fair to rate a debate on the basis of those who showed up,” Sabato told 8News.
Sabato says if you’re going to choose someone who wasn’t at the debate as the winner, it wouldn’t be Youngkin.
“It would be Donald Trump,” Sabato explained. “It’s pretty clear had he gone, he would have been the focus of attacks for two hours. He avoided all that. He took away the spotlight very quickly with his arrest in Fulton County.”
Sabato adds a factor complicating a potential run for Youngkin is timing. If Youngkin waits until after November’s General Assembly elections in Virginia, filing deadlines for several states will have already passed.
Plus, Sabato says the hype around Youngkin is being driven by wealthy donors, not Republican voters.
“Glenn Youngkin has been included in a lot of polls,” Sabato said. “A couple dozen polls about the presidential race. I have yet to see him break 1%. He is usually at 0%. You need to put it into context. There is not a groundswell of support for Glenn Youngkin for president.”
The Iowa Caucuses are set for Jan. 15, 2024, meaning if Youngkin does wait until November to announce a run, he would only have two months to campaign.