The 2024 Republican presidential primary has already drawn in one big name — former President Trump — and several other major candidates are expected to follow.
GOP White House hopefuls see an unusually inviting opportunity.
President Biden, if he runs again, would be 82 years old at his second inauguration. His approval ratings are low, inflation is high, and there are growing fears of an impending recession.
Here’s who’s running in the Republican primary today. This list will be updated.
Former President Trump
Trump entered the race on November 15, becoming the first major candidate to do so.
In his speech, he promised that “America’s comeback starts right now” and that he would revive “a nation in decline.”
But Trump’s speech also drew some criticism for being unusually blunt. It also came at a time of political vulnerability for the former president, who came under renewed fire for his alleged culpability for a poor GOP performance in the 2022 midterms.
Still, Trump leads the clear majority of polls regarding the 2024 nomination race. He has vast financial resources and the resolute support of much of the GOP base.
But he is far from inevitable, and virtually no one expects him to have a clear run for the nomination.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
DeSantis has said less about his intentions for 2024 than some other candidates.
Maybe it’s because he doesn’t have to.
Florida’s governor is clearly Trump’s most serious rival for the nomination. While Trump was diminished by the 2022 midterm elections, DeSantis’ reputation was enhanced thanks to his emphatic re-election victory.
DeSantis’ appeal is straightforward: He promotes the same populist-right causes as Trump — and is just as willing to engage in culture wars — but brings less self-defeating chaos in his wake.
For now, DeSantis is mostly touting his record in Florida rather than directly hinting at a 2024 run. But he is widely expected to join the race.
Late. Ted Cruz (Texas)
Cruz proved to be Trump’s most serious rival in the long and bitter 2016 nomination battle.
However, the senator from Texas has a complication when it comes to 2024 – he is up for re-election to the Senate that same year.
Cruz recently confirmed that he will run for his third term in the Senate. But he also tried to keep the door open for a presidential election.
Pressed on the point by Fox News, he said: “There will be plenty of time to discuss the 2024 presidential election … there will be plenty of time for that.”
Cruz is one of the most high-profile conservatives in the nation, but DeSantis’ rising star complicates the electoral calculus for him.
South Dakota Gov. Christie Noem
Noem, who comfortably won re-election in November, rose to national prominence with his pugnacious opposition to COVID-19 restrictions during the pandemic.
Those trying to figure out her 2024 plans are given conflicting clues.
In an interview with Major Garrett of CBS News in July, Noem said she expected Trump to run, “and if President Trump runs, I will support him.”
But in the immediate extension of the middle weather, she sounded a different tune. Noem told The New York Times that Trump would not give the GOP its “best chance” in 2024.
“Our job is not just to talk to people who love Trump or hate Trump. Our job is to talk to every single American,” Noem added.
As governor of a rural, heartland state, she might consider herself well-placed to do just that.
Considering an offer
Former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley
Haley had at one point promised that she would not run for the 2024 nomination if Trump did.
She has clearly moved away from that position.
At a Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) event in November, Haley stated that she was looking “in a serious way” to enter the race. “I’ve never lost an election and I’m not going to start now,” she added.
Haley, the daughter of Indian immigrants, could be an emblem of a more inclusive Republican Party in a post-Trump era. Her most high-profile moment as South Carolina’s governor came when she supported the removal of a Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds in the wake of a racist massacre at a Charleston church in 2015.
But she has also flip-flopped in her stance on Trump himself, earning a degree of distrust among the GOP grassroots.
Former Vice President Mike Pence
Pence has been open about his presidential ambitions.
In an interview with ABC News’ David Muir in November, Pence said he and his family were “prayerfully considering” a run.
In the same interview, Pence said he believed the GOP would have “better choices” than Trump for the 2024 nomination.
Pence often finishes third in the early race, but he is well behind Trump and DeSantis.
He also has higher unfavorable ratings among Republican voters than most other front-line candidates — a consequence of his turbulent relationship with Trump.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
Pompeo has not officially declared, but it seems only a matter of time before he will.
The former secretary of state — who before that served as Trump’s CIA director — has visited the crucial early states of Iowa and New Hampshire and has also run digital ads across the country.
Pompeo is a contributor to Fox News, one of the best platforms to reach Republican voters, and his resume gives him some foreign policy gravitas.
But it’s not entirely clear what the rationale would be for a Pompeo candidacy.
Other possible candidates
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan
In a CNN interview with Dana Bash shortly after the midterms, Hogan left the door open for a presidential run. Hogan said the GOP needed to broaden its appeal “like I’ve done in Maryland.”
Hogan, a moderate who leaves office in January, added of the prospect of a 2024 run: “That field is much wider now than it was a week ago.”
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
Christie has emerged as one of Trump’s most vigorous GOP critics, though he endorsed the then-candidate earlier than most in 2016 and later worked on his presidential transition.
Christie told the recent RJC meeting: “The reason we’re losing is because Donald Trump has put himself above everybody else.” His plans for 2024 are still unclear.
Late. Tim Scott (SC)
Scott, the Senate’s only black Republican, is being talked up by his supporters as someone who could unite the difficult factions in today’s GOP. He has traveled to some key early states — on three Iowa trips between June and October — but has otherwise been tight-lipped about his plans.
Late. Tom Cotton (Ark.)
Several media outlets reported in early November that Cotton had decided on a run in 2024.
The conservative senator from Arkansas apparently cited concerns about the effects of a campaign on his family, including two young sons.
There has been no official statement on the matter from Cotton, but Politico reported that he had “reached out to donors, supporters and senior Republicans” to tell them of his decision.