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Virginia’s Youngkin hauls cash and campaigns across the country

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has continued to raise funds rapidly over the past three months, outpacing his recent predecessors, while traveling the country to boost his national profile and boost mid-term candidates. -mandate.

The Republican’s Spirit of Virginia political action committee raised nearly $1.8 million in cash during the July-September quarter, spent about $1.1 million, and ended the quarter with about 2.3 million in hand, according to campaign finance information filed this month.

The governor, increasingly seen as a potential 2024 presidential nominee, has far surpassed the leadership committee of any other Virginia official during this time, and the strong receipts are a continuation of Trending: The political newcomer’s combination of fundraising and loans for his campaign in his final year run against Democrat Terry McAuliffe shattered records set during the 2017 gubernatorial campaign.

Youngkin also brought in a lot of money after the election and for his inauguration.

In his first two full quarters in office, he has raised more than twice as much as his three most recent predecessors in donations of $10,000 or more, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks the money in politics.

“Excitement continues to grow around Governor Youngkin’s approach to addressing kitchen table issues with common sense solutions,” Youngkin’s policy adviser Kristin Davison wrote in an email.

A wealthy former private equity executive, Youngkin quickly became the subject of speculation in 2024 after defeating McAuliffe, a former governor, in a state that had long had a blue streak. Speculation about a possible presidential race or other bid for federal office has since intensified, along with criticism from Virginia Democrats who say Youngkin is getting ahead of himself and neglecting his day job.

Youngkin — who under state law will not be allowed to run for a second consecutive term as governor — is usually reluctant when asked publicly about future plans, saying he is flattered to be in the conversation but focused on Virginia. But since taking office in January, he has moved quickly to assert himself as a new voice in the GOP.

His recently filed PAC receipts hint at the breadth of his political operation, showing expenses with more than a dozen advisory, communications, fundraising, speechwriting or strategy groups, as well as a ad creator and survey company.

Youngkin, who like other governors frequently uses state planes for state business, said he pays for his political travel himself. He reimbursed the use of the state plane for a political stopover in Northern Virginia in August, according to Davison.

His PAC expenses show spending on commercial airline tickets, lodging, parking, two reimbursements for his State Police Protective Unit, and meeting expenses at venues ranging from a steakhouse in Aspen, Colorado, at a delicatessen in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

The governor has also traveled the country on behalf of GOP gubernatorial candidates, with stops since the summer in Nebraska, Colorado, Michigan, Maine, New Mexico, Kansas, Georgia, Nevada, Oregon and Arizona. This week, he will be in Wisconsin with Tim Michels, the GOP candidate for governor.

Virginia Democrats and a few Republicans, including U.S. Representative and Jan. 6 committee member Liz Cheney, took issue with either the governor’s pace of travel or the candidates he chose to share a stage with, particularly Kari Lake.

GOP candidate for Arizona governor Lake said she would not certify President Joe Biden’s victory in 2020 and placed false allegations of voter fraud at the center of her campaign.

House Democratic Leader Don Scott said in a statement that Youngkin had “left Virginia to campaign for extremists” and that it was “crystal clear that his loyalty goes to the grassroots. MAGA”.

Marcus Simon, a House Democrat from northern Virginia, tweeted that Youngkin must have decided that since he was donating his $175,000-a-year salary to charity, “he can decide if he present at work and when.

Davison said Democrats still haven’t learned their lesson from the losses of 2021, when the GOP swept all three Virginia state seats and toppled the State House.

“Instead of attacking kitchen table issues, they are launching weak attacks on Twitter, she said.

As for Youngkin’s fundraising, Virginia PACs are not subject to any contribution limits, although they must disclose their donors. A critic of Youngkin’s show, he has garnered support from philanthropists, business owners and executives – including casino magnate Phil Ruffin – as well as developers, lawyers and others. He both tapped into the Virginia GOP’s network of trusted donors and attracted new ones.

Ramon Breeden Jr., who founded Virginia Beach-based real estate development company The Breeden Co. and now chairs its board, has donated for decades to mostly Republican candidates, but none as generously as Youngkin .

Breeden, who with a $200,000 donation in August became Youngkin’s top donor this past quarter, said in a statement to The Associated Press that he believes the governor understands the business and the economy and acts with integrity.

“I also like that Governor Youngkin doesn’t sound like a politician. He intends to do what he says, and he says what he will do,” Breeden said.

Through a separate super PAC, Youngkin uses some of his money to support GOP candidates in Virginia’s most competitive congressional races, and also said he would do the same to help Republican legislative candidates this year. next, when each seat at the General Assembly will be on the ballot.

Over the past week, Empowering Virginia Parents has reported nearly $415,000 in independent spending in Virginia’s 2nd, 7th, and 10th Districts, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, places where Youngkin also hits the road the Election Day to support GOP challengers in hopes of returning those seats.

On Monday, he was scheduled to appear with each of the Republican candidates — Jen Kiggans, Hung Cao and Yesli Vega — at three separate events to secure the statewide vote.

At recent campaign stops, Youngkin typically presents the candidate with one of his signature red vests and seeks to draw a line between his victory last year and November 8, Election Day.

“See, there’s a… red wave sweeping across the country,” Youngkin said last week during an appearance with Lake. “A red wave that may have originated in the Commonwealth of Virginia last year.”