A former executive of a global investment firm, Glenn Youngkin, announced he will join Virginia’s race for governor, casting himself in a video as a conservative political outsider who worked his way up to amass his estimated $265 million of wealth.
Youngkin joins the race for the Republican nomination after retiring as co-chief executive of The Carlyle Group, a Washington-based private equity giant.
Youngkin emphasized his modest roots, not his leadership of a company with an estimated $230 billion in assets, in Tuesday’sannouncement video. He recalled a time when his father lost a job and while still a teenager in Virginia Beach, Youngkin supported his family by washing dishes at a diner.
A basketball scholarship blazed his path to college, he said. He attended Rice University and then Harvard Business School.
“I’m not a politician,” Youngkin said. “I’ve spent the last 30 years building business and creating jobs. . . . It’s going to take an outsider, a new kind of leader, to bring a new day to Virginia.”
The wide GOP field also includes Sergio de la Peña, a retired Army officer who touted his early support for former President Donald Trump in a campaign launch video; entrepreneur and former Fox News contributor Pete Snyder; firebrand conservative state Sen. Amanda Chase; and state Del. Kirk Cox, who was House speaker when Republicans last controlled the chamber.
Republicans haven't won a statewide race in Virginia in more than a decade, and the former businessman did not mention any policy ideas in the video, which emphasized faith and family.
The video also shows his wife, Suzanne, who with Youngkin created Virginia Ready, a nonprofit that connects Virginians whose employment was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic with training programs.
“Virginia is being tested. What we need isn’t another politician — or worse, the same politician,” Youngkin said, digging at former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat who is seeking another term after leaving office in 2018.
Other Democratic candidates include Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, state Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy and state Del. Lee Carter.
Princess Blanding, the sister of a Black man killed by Richmond police in 2018, has launched a third-party bid.
The state GOP has opted to pick its nominee at a convention in May. Democrats will choose their candidate in a June primary.