Former President Donald Trump is unlikely to face as crowded a primary in 2024 as 2016, but he will face some challengers. He is the only nationally known GOP candidate to file a declaration of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission.
The early jump by Trump will give him a few months of solitude on the 2024 presidential campaign trail, but he will likely have dance partners soon. Politicians have been likened to sharks who strike in frenzied groups when they sense blood in the water.
Trump’s unopposed 2020 campaign resulted from his party domination and incumbency, but both of those advantages are not there for him now. A number of national Republicans allocate some blame to Trump for poor midterm results that did not produce the expected “red tsunami.”
Until the challengers officially announce their candidacy, it will be impossible to know whom the former president will face. It does not take much thought, though, to arrive at the identities of likely opponents in the race for the GOP presidential nomination.
Prominent party members anticipate challenges from Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD), former Vice President Mike Pence, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Trump’s Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and — longest-shot of them all — Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC).
DeSantis traveled to pivotal states like Pennsylvania and Ohio to stump for 2022 candidates even though he was running for reelection himself. He helped his cause immensely by notching nearly a 20-point margin of victory to cruise to four more years in the governor’s office in Tallahassee.
The Florida Republican is popular with many Republicans for his high-profile stances against pandemic mandates for masks, vaccines and business closures. His advocacy for legislation limiting teachers instructing K-3rd grade students about sexuality and gender identity was widely hailed in the GOP.
Standing up to the woke activism of the corporate behemoth that tried to influence Florida to embrace transgender and LGBTQ-friendly policies further endeared him to base voters.
DeSantis has denied interest in running for president after winning a second term as a popular governor of a growing state with a robust economy.
Party members have reportedly tried convincing him to step up and challenge the 45th president’s bid to reclaim the Oval Office. Trump signaled he may be worried those efforts may bear fruit when he preemptively declared DeSantis would be “disloyal” if he entered the 2024 presidential race.
Kristi Noem has not declared she plans to run for president either, but party members took notice when she claimed Trump was not the party’s “best chance” in 2024. Noem took a swipe at DeSantis, too, with her claim that South Dakota is the freest state in the U.S. and criticizing his stance on abortion. She has said Florida’s restrictions against abortion did not go far enough.
Pence has plenty of national name recognition based on a lifetime of public service capped by his four years as Trump’s VP. He has made no secret that his eyes are set on the White House but reportedly postponed making a final decision until the spring. In the meantime, he has been traveling across the U.S. promoting his new book, “So Help Me God.”
“Loyalty is a Vice President’s first duty; but there is a greater one,” Pence noted in the book, “to God and the Constitution.” That principle led to a schism between him and Trump, who reportedly still holds a grudge against Pence for certifying the 2020 election results.
So, Trump loyalists may find it hard to get behind a man whom Trump will not get behind.
Nikki Haley is expected to announce her bid for the presidency later this month. Haley would be the first Republican candidate to venture into the field since Trump announced his bid late last year.
Haley is expected to announce her bid for the presidency later this month, according to a Washington Examiner report. Haley would be the second Republican candidate to announce a challenge to Trump for the party’s top spot.
The former governor and U.N. Ambassador had previously pledged not to run for president in 2024 if Trump ran. Recent comments by her have indicated she may have changed her mind. She is well regarded in South Carolina from here service as that state’s governor. Haley gained some national name recognition from her time in the U.N., but she will have a tough slog to introduce herself to voters in Rust Belt and Western states.
Although Haley had vowed she would not run against her former boss, she appears to have gone back on that position.
Pompeo revealed he will decide about running for president this spring, noting Trump’s decision to run would not be a factor in his own decision.
“We were told we’d get tired of winning,” Trump’s secretary of state said in a November 8, 2022, Twitter post. “But I’m tired of losing. And so are most Republicans.”
The West Point graduate is nationally known and his service to the country can only help his candidacy if he declares. The question is: Can he draw enough numbers away from his flamboyant former boss?
Scott will soon embark on a “Faith in America” listening tour with scheduled stops in Iowa and S.C. Scott has not publicly declared he would run for president but both stops are in vital early caucus and primary states.
West Virginia businessman Rollan Roberts II declared his entry into the 2024 GOP presidential primary last month.
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