GOP Megadonors Are Secretly Courting Two Popular Governors To Challenge Trump: REPORT

(Photo by Megan Varner/Getty Images)/(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Mary Lou Masters Contributor
Font Size:

GOP megadonors are privately courting popular Republican Govs. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia and Brian Kemp of Georgia to challenge former President Donald Trump in 2024, Axios reported Saturday.

As Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has struggled to gain traction in the polls against the former president, the Republican contributors are seeking other potential alternatives to jump in last minute, according to Axios. Though Youngkin and Kemp have both previously ruled out a 2024 bid, several sources told the outlet they’re keeping the door open as top donors reach out.

“People are desperate. They are concerned with what could happen if Trump wins the primaries and they want a viable alternative,” a Republican source told Axios. (RELATED: Glenn Youngkin Is ‘Reconsidering’ Running For President In 2024: REPORT)

Billionaire Ronald Lauder is one of the GOP donors who would potentially back Youngkin if he makes a White House bid, sources who spoke with him told Axios. Billionaire Thomas Peterffy, who previously supported DeSantis for president, recently dropped $2 million into Youngkin’s Spirit of Virginia political action committee (PAC).

Rupert Murdoch, who heads Fox News and the New York Post, is quietly hoping Youngkin challenges the four-time-indicted former president, according to Axios.

“Virginia’s getting attention because Governor Youngkin’s common-sense conservative leadership is working. There’s more to do, so the governor’s not taking his eye off Virginia; these (legislative) races are too important,” Spirit of Virginia PAC Chairman Dave Rexrode said in a statement provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Youngkin maintains that he’s solely focused on Virginia when asked about a 2024 bid, and said May 1 that he wouldn’t run for president “this year.” Despite previously ruling it out, Axios reported in late May that Youngkin was “reconsidering” a presidential campaign.

A Republican strategist familiar with Youngkin and the super PAC’s positioning stressed the governor’s focus on the November legislative elections in a statement to the DCNF.

“He maintains a steady national media profile; he has since coming into office and uses the appearances to pump Virginia,” the strategist said. “Reconsidering? The answer has always been the same, he’s flattered but focused on Virginia this fall.”

Former Trump administration National Security Adviser John Bolton encouraged Kemp in a private meeting earlier this month to challenge his former boss, of whom he’s become a frequent critic, a source told Axios. Kemp has also ruled out running for president in 2024, and has instead stoked rumors he’s considering challenging Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff in 2026 once the governor’s second term finishes up.

The RealClearPolitics (RCP) average for a 2024 national Republican primary, based on polls conducted between July 31 and Aug. 17, indicates Trump is leading DeSantis by over 40 points, followed by conservative businessman Vivek Ramaswamy with 7.2%, former Vice President Mike Pence with 5.2% and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley with 3.4%. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott both received 2.7% support, and all other GOP hopefuls polled at less than 1%.

Kemp did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.