Billionaire Republican megadonor Thomas Peterffy wired $1 million to Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s “Spirit of Virginia” PAC Thursday, his second million-dollar donation to the PAC supporting the governor's political goals.
Peterffy, founder of electronic broker firm "Interactive Brokers," made his first seven-figure donation to the Youngkin-aligned PAC in April, around the time he told the Financial Times he was putting his financial support for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the 2024 presidential race “on hold" because of DeSantis' stance on social issues.
Youngkin's PAC has been on a fundraising streak lately, with the Virginia governor raising money around the country, visiting Colorado, Texas and Florida in recent months for receptions with wealthy donors.
The PAC supporting the governor says with Peterffy’s donation, it has now raked in $9.5 million since the beginning of the year — and has $7.5 million on hand.
Virginia state House Speaker Todd Gilbert, who has served in the General Assembly for 17 years, told NBC News that state Republicans haven’t always had strong fundraising numbers from outside Virginia — but with Youngkin, he says it’s different.
“We have always struggled to keep up with what the other side seems to do year in, year out — which is bringing in all this out of state money from millionaires and billionaires who have nothing to do with Virginia, but who want to change our way of life here,” Gilbert said. “We could not do it without his efforts. Period.”
“Virginia is showing what can be accomplished when you’re focused on commonsense results,” Dave Rexrode, senior adviser to Youngkin told NBC News.
Donations like Peterffy’s continue to spur speculation about Youngkin’s ambitions for higher office. The term-limited Virginia governor has not closed the door on a potential run for president in 2024, NBC News has learned, with donors and close advisors encouraging him to keep an open mind.
Gilbert says he could see it.
“I do think Governor Youngkin would be formidable if he decided to enter the presidential race, but he has been laser focused on winning back the Senate, holding the House, and making sure that he finishes the job that he started here in Virginia," Gilbert said.
Publicly, Youngkin has repeatedly insisted he is indeed “focused on Virginia,” and is going to be spending time this summer and fall working to flip the state Senate to Republican control.
With Virginia’s entire legislature up for grabs during off-year elections, flipping of the state Senate — and holding the state House of Delegates — would pave the way for several of Youngkin's legislative priorities that were unable to get across the finish line during the previous session. That includes a 15-week ban on abortion, with exceptions for rape, incest and the life or physical well-being of the mother.
Youngkin last month announced a comprehensive, seven-figure “Secure Your Vote” campaign that encourages early voting and mail-in voting — strategies many other elected Republicans nationwide shunned during 2020 and 2022 races but are now coming back to despite longtime opposition from figures like former President Donald Trump.
This week, Trump, who has previously falsely claimed mail-in voting would lead to rampant fraud, released a video in coordination with the RNC also urging voters to vote early.