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Leahy: Tim Kaine’s Lessons for Glenn Youngkin on Dealing With the Legislature

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) passed the symbolic 100 days in office milestone on Tuesday. How did Youngkin celebrate? By making an appearance on the ABC program GMA 3 [1].

National news, not local. That fits a pattern the tyro pol has established since taking office in January. Make the national press rounds — Fox News being a favorite — even as his day job requires that he get in the trenches with an unruly gaggle of provincial lawmakers.

In his GMA 3 appearance, Youngkin noted how “humbled and honored” he is “to be serving Virginians.” That’s nice, and Rod Serling [2] would probably get a chuckle out of Youngkin’s phrasing. And when asked whether he might be thinking of making a presidential run in 2024, Youngkin said [3] on CNBC, he’s “got a new job in Virginia and [is] extremely excited to be doing it.”

Okay, great. Youngkin’s focus is on the job at hand. Except when it’s on the next job — which is expanding his national profile and influence through two new political operations.

As Politico’s Alex Isenstadt reported [4], these groups — a “Spirit of America” PAC and an “America’s Spirit” nonprofit — will allow Youngkin to “wade into gubernatorial races across the country on behalf of GOP candidates” and “target a pair of Democratic House members” — Democratic Reps. Elaine Luria and Abigail Spanberger — who are in toss-up [5] reelection contests.

That’s a step above other Virginia governors, at least at this stage of their term. Former governors Tim Kaine (D), now one of Virginia’s U.S. senators, and Robert F. McDonnell (R) were tapped [6] to make their respective party’s nationally televised State of the Union response. There’s nothing like a statewide winner with what seems like a strong message to push back against the sitting president of the opposition party.

Youngkin didn’t get that job this year (it went to Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds [7]). No great loss for Youngkin, who has more important things to do. Such as testing his new political tools on the Virginia General Assembly.

Spirit of Virginia, Youngkin’s the 501(c)(4) nonprofit, was behind an ad [8] pushing lawmakers (read: Senate Democrats) to adopt his package of tax cuts in the special session.

The ads flopped.

Continue reading here [9].