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Youngkin to meet donors in Dallas, stirring talk of a presidential bid

The Virginia governor, increasingly active on the national stage, is being hosted by Robert Rowling, the owner of Omni Hotels

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) marches with abortion protesters during March for Life in Richmond on Feb. 1. (Laura Vozzella/The Washington Post)
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Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, increasingly seeking out national audiences ahead of a possible campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, will travel next month to meet megadonors in Dallas, according to a person familiar with the plans.

The April reception for Youngkin, a first-term governor and former private equity executive, will be hosted by Robert Rowling, the owner of Omni Hotels.

The hotel magnate, whose net worth is estimated at $5.6 billion by Forbes, gave $25,000 to Youngkin in the final month of his successful 2021 gubernatorial campaign, according to state records. Rowling contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican candidates and committees in last year’s midterms, federal filings show.

An assistant for Rowling declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Youngkin did not respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this month, Youngkin traveled to New York to meet with donors, among numerous recent forums with some of the GOP’s major financiers. Last fall, he invited donors to a two-day retreat outside of Charlottesville, The Washington Post reported at the time. Youngkin, the former co-CEO of the private equity giant the Carlyle Group, is himself worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

In addition to gatherings with national donors, Youngkin has also stumped for Republican candidates throughout the country and made a string of high-profile media appearances — part of an effort to build his national brand. Last week, he took wide-ranging questions during a CNN town hall on education. When it came to his presidential ambitions, however, he kept mum.

“I believe there’s an enormous amount of work yet to do in Virginia,” said the governor, who cannot serve two consecutive terms under Virginia law.

But in an interview days earlier on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” he acknowledged that the question had merit, pitching his record in Virginia as a national blueprint in the same way Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has done as he lays the groundwork for a possible presidential campaign.

“I do think the reason why people are asking this question of me is because the issues that I’m dealing with in Virginia are the same issues that the nation is dealing with,” Youngkin said. “And we’re winning.”