RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Wealthy businessman Glenn Youngkin spoke with 10 On Your Side this week after winning the Republican nomination for Virginia’s governor race. The results were finalized after a lengthy, competitive convention.
“It was an emotional day,” said Youngkin. “Because we worked really hard. But it was so encouraging to watch the Republican party come together like never before.”
Youngkin has his work cut out for him. Virginia has not elected a Republican governor since Bob McDonnell in 2009.
Before becoming the wealthy businessman he is today, Youngkin was a kid growing up in Virginia Beach. He said he used to wash dishes and take out the trash at the Belvedere Hotel. The old school Oceanfront hotel was torn down last year, but Youngkin’s ties to the area remain. Heavy support from Hampton Roads Republicans helped him win the nomination.
Youngkin also received an endorsement Tuesday from former President Donald Trump. Trump lost Virginia in 2020 by 10 percentage points.
“I’m receiving endorsements from all kinds of folks,” said Youngkin. “I’m honored that the president endorsed me.”
Youngkin’s potential opponents weighed in on his win.
Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, is campaigning for a second term in the governor’s mansion. McAuliffe released a statement on Youngkin’s win saying in part, “Glenn Youngkin has gone all-in on Trump’s most dangerous, divisive conspiracy theories.”
Jennifer Carroll Foy, a state delegate and democratic candidate for governor, also released a statement saying, “it’s clear the Virginia Republican Party has doubled down on the kind of extremism and divisiveness Virginians reject.”
“This is all they know. They know to sprew division and hate. It’s just wrong and this is not what we’re about,” Youngkin said.
Throughout the campaign, Youngkin branded himself as a political outsider focused on helping businesses, getting jobs, opening up schools, investing in law enforcement and emphasizing election integrity.
“One of the biggest challenges we have is that Virginians, but also Americans, have lost faith in the process,” explained Youngkin.
Election integrity has been a hot-button issue since the 2020 presidential election.
We asked Youngkin if he believed Biden’s win was legitimate.
“He’s our president,” answered Youngkin. “Joe Biden is our president and we have to move forward.”
Younkin said he decided to run last summer when he saw where Democratic leadership was taking the commonwealth.
“The commonwealth is losing,” said Youngkin. “We’ve been losing out to our peer states in Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia. They’ve been growing faster and creating more jobs. The cost of living is lower and so Virginia families are moving away. I just watched the way our pandemic was managed with our schools being closed and longer than they ever should have been, restrictions on business to the point where Virginia was actually ranked 50th in freedom in March. I just said I’m tired of it and I’m going to jump in.”
With eyes on the governor’s mansion, Youngkin is ready for November.
His Democratic challenger will be decided on June 8.