Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin’s top political strategist joined a political organization this week urging Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to enter the 2024 presidential race.
Jeff Roe, the founder of Axiom Strategies, is now working for Never Back Down, which was launched earlier this month by Ken Cuccinelli, who served as acting deputy secretary of Homeland Security and acting director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Trump administration.
Youngkin, who won a bruising election in 2021 in what had in recent years become a reliably blue state, has been mentioned as a potential 2024 GOP candidate. The Washington Post reported that Roe has expressed loyalty to Youngkin but believes DeSantis is the only potential primary opponent who could beat former President Donald Trump. He said last month during a Fox News interview that there was “no room for a third or fourth, or even fifth person in this race.”
Virginia does not allow governors to serve two consecutive terms, and Youngkin has not announced any plan to seek another office, much less the presidency. As a result, it was not clear what need he might have for a political strategist. The report noted that Roe, who has previously worked for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-MO), indicated that his firm will only work for one presidential candidate.
The Never Back Down PAC is independent of DeSantis, who is not expected to make a presidential announcement until after Florida’s legislative session ends on May 5. DeSantis said in an interview this week with Piers Morgan that he has not yet made a final decision on whether he will seek the White House.
Cuccinelli said in a statement after launching the Never Back Down PAC that he has “been speaking to many grassroots conservative activists around the country who are very enthusiastic for Governor DeSantis to run for President in 2024.”
“The energy is there, grassroots conservatives see the Governor as a leader and a fighter with a winning conservative track record who will lead the Republican Party to victory in 2024,” he said. “Based on those conversations, I am most confident that we will build an unmatched grassroots political army for Governor DeSantis to help carry him to the White House.”
— Ken Cuccinelli (@KenCuccinelli) March 9, 2023