A growing number of Republicans are already jockeying ahead of 2024 as they await former President Trump’s decision on another possible White House run.
While Trump has not confirmed whether he will launch a third presidential bid, he has repeatedly teased the idea since losing the election in 2020.
“I’m absolutely enthused. I look forward to doing an announcement at the right time,” Trump said earlier this month. “As you know, it’s very early. But I think people are going to be very, very happy when I make a certain announcement.”
But that hasn’t stopped speculation from building around other high-profile Republicans seen as potential heirs apparent to the former president.
Here are nine Republicans not named Trump who could run for president in 2024.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s response to the coronavirus pandemic in the Sunshine State has put him at the top of the list of rising stars within the Republican Party. The governor’s refusal to institute a statewide mask mandate and focus on keeping businesses open has earned him praise from conservative circles.
DeSantis came in second place behind Trump in the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll in Orlando earlier this year.
Trump praised the governor in an interview last month, saying he would consider DeSantis as a running mate if he were to decides on running again for president.
“A lot of people like that — I’m just saying what I read and what you read, they love that ticket,” Trump said on Fox Business, referencing DeSantis’s 2018 race. “But certainly, Ron would be considered. He’s a great guy.”
DeSantis is a staunch Trump ally, often reflecting the former president’s combative communication style by trading barbs with members of the news media. This was on full display earlier this month when DeSantis criticized the news media during an address to the Allegheny County GOP’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner in Pennsylvania.
“So what I would say to Republicans: Don’t seek approval from these people,” the governor said. “They don’t like you. They will smear you. They will attack you. The way to win is to fight back and not take it anymore Don’t let these people set the agenda for our party anymore.”
DeSantis, who is running for reelection in 2022, also offered a preview of what’s to come in his political future.
“Hold the line. Don’t back down,” he said. “And in the state of Florida, with me as governor, I have only begun to fight.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence is also said to be considering a run for the White House, despite his uncertain position in Trump World.
A Politico/Morning Consult survey released earlier this month showed Pence in second place behind Trump among potential 2024 GOP presidential contenders. Additionally, a poll conducted by Tony Fabrizio, who did polling work for Trump’s 2020 campaign, showed last month that Pence was the front-runner among a potential list of contenders, garnering 19 percent support. DeSantis followed close behind with 17 percent.
The former vice president has kept a low profile since President Biden’s inauguration, where he was the sole representative from the Trump administration in attendance. However, he has signaled that he is making a return to the public sphere. Pence delivered a speech last month at a Palmetto Family Council event in South Carolina and called for conservatives to unite in opposing Biden’s agenda.
But the relationship between the former vice president and Trump is not as in sync as it used to be.
Pence was at the Capitol when a mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed inside on Jan. 6, as he was preparing to certify the election results. The mob came from a Trump rally in which the then-president criticized Pence for agreeing to take place in the certification process. Many of the Trump supporters chanted “hang Mike Pence” as they stormed the building.
Trump has continued to attack Pence over the election, even as Pence has sowed doubt in the election results, penning an op-ed in The Daily Signal questioning the integrity of the 2020 election.
Like DeSantis, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has received praise from much of the conservative world for her job as governor, landing her on a number of 2024 contender lists.
Noem sparked 2024 speculation this week after she formed a federal PAC dubbed the Noem Victory Fund. The governor is also slated to visit the first presidential caucus state of Iowa in July, where she will address social conservatives at the FAMiLY Leadership summit in Des Moines.
Noem has positioned herself as a cultural conservative, championing issues like abolishing critical race theory from schools. She’s also put up a legal fight to the Biden administration, challenging it this month on the decision to not have an Independence Day celebration with fireworks on Mount Rushmore. Noem has also joined other states in opposing climate regulations set by Biden.
Yet recent polling paints a potentially difficult scenario for Noem in the crowded field of potential GOP hopefuls.
The governor came in second behind DeSantis in the CPAC straw poll earlier this year, but other polls show her trailing other potential contenders. The same Politico Morning Consult survey showed Noem garnering only one percent of the vote.
Noem notably garnered the ire of many conservatives when she vetoed legislation banning transgender women from sports over what she said was the “style and form” of the bill. However, she later issued executive orders limiting participation on female sports teams to people assigned female at birth.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has fueled 2024 speculation since Trump left office earlier this year.
Haley is slated to headline the Iowa GOP’s annual Lincoln Dinner, the state party’s most prominent gathering of the year, in June. She also launched her Stand for America PAC in January and has actively endorsed Republican candidates ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
However, Haley has a strained relationship with Trump, who is still the leader of the party. She slammed Trump after the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, saying in an interview with Politico that it had been a mistake for Republicans to listen to him and predicting that he would find himself “further and further isolated” in the coming months and years.
“He’s not going to run for federal office again,” she said in the same interview.
But months after those comments, Haley remains the isolated one, and she has since changed her tune.
“I would not run if President Trump ran, and I would talk to him about it,” Haley told The Associated Press at a press conference. “That’s something that we’ll have a conversation about at some point if that decision is something that has to be made.”
According to the Politico/Morning Consult poll, Haley only received 4 percent support from Republican voters.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has kept a relatively public profile since his former boss left office, often criticizing the Biden administration.
He has also made recent speaking appearances in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
But Pompeo denied earlier this month that he had plans to run in 2024 in an interview with Topeka’s NBC affiliate KSNT.
“No, not at all,” he said when asked if he intended to run for president.
Still, Pompeo has continued to fuel speculation. He is reportedly planning a trip to Israel this month as a private citizen to celebrate the retirement of Yossi Cohen, the head of Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad. Politico reported that the trip details had not yet been finalized due to Israel’s coronavirus protocols.
Back in March, Pompeo was coyer when asked about a potential 2024 presidential run during an interview with conservative talk show host Sean Hannity on Fox News.
“I’m always up for a good fight,” Pompeo said. “I care deeply about America. You and I have been a part of the conservative movement for an awfully long time now. I aim to keep at it.”
“I’ll take that as a strong maybe,” Hannity added, to which Pompeo replied: “That’s perfect.”
Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley is seen as another potential 2024 contender who has significantly worked to raise his profile since being elected to the upper chamber.
Hawley has been consistently critical of the Biden administration, and even voted against the majority of Biden’s Cabinet-level nominees. The senator also published a new book this year, in which he criticizes the influence of big tech corporations. The book got an endorsement from Trump, who called it “fantastic” earlier this month.
But Hawley has also received much notoriety from his decision to challenge the 2020 election results. He was the first Republican senator to announce he would formally challenge the election results in Congress, giving House conservatives, who were already publicly on board, the support they needed to force a vote on a challenge for only the third time since 1887.
The senator said earlier this month that Trump will be the GOP presidential nominee in 2024 if he decides to run. Hawley denied that he was planning a bid for the White House in an interview with The Washington Post.
“I’m not planning to run either way. In 2024, I have an election of my own in the state of Missouri and I hope that the state of Missouri will have me for another six years in the Senate,” he said.
Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton has fueled speculation that he will run in 2024, making a number of trips to Iowa and New Hampshire.
In January, Cotton told an audience of New Hampshire Republican Party members that he planned to return to the state “very, very soon.”
“The customs and the habits and the traditions that have been built up in New Hampshire, and the intimate size of your state, make sure that our candidates get fully vetted,” he said, according to WMUR.
Cotton served in the Army in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is considered a staunch conservative on a number of issues, including abortion and immigration.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), a rising star within the Republican Party, has also been floated as a potential 2024 presidential candidate.
The senator sparked 2024 speculation last month when he attended an event hosted by the Iowa Republican Party.
Scott, the only Black Republican in the Senate, made headlines and bolstered his profile when he delivered the GOP response to Biden’s first joint address to Congress last month. The senator received praise from Republicans and conservatives for the speech.
National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee Chair Rick Scott (R-Fla.) is another senator who has fueled 2024 speculation. Scott made his first in-person appearance in Iowa last month, meeting with Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa), and the state’s GOP chairman Jeff Kaufman.
Scott’s post as NRSC chairman provides him with a platform ahead of the 2022 midterms, which will be a major test for Republicans hoping to take back majorities in both chambers ahead of 2024.
Prior to defeating former Sen. Bill Nelson (D) in Florida’s 2018 Senate race, Scott gained executive experience serving as governor for eight years.
However, Scott has trailed behind other possible 2024 contenders in polling. The senator only garnered 0.2 percent of the vote in the CPAC straw poll earlier this year.
Via The Hill