Here’s where Trump’s GOP rivals stand on potential 2024 bids
Former President Trump kicked off the 2024 presidential election campaign season when he became the first major candidate to announce a White House bid just a week after the midterm elections.
Trump has been the unequivocal leader of the Republican Party since he was first elected president in 2016, but he has garnered blame from many opponents and allies for the party’s disappointing performance in the midterms.
Several noteworthy Republicans have hinted that they are considering running for president in the aftermath of the midterms and indicated a willingness to oppose Trump.
Here’s where other potential Republican 2024 presidential candidates stand in their possible White House bids.
Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) emerged as one of the top GOP critics of Trump in the aftermath of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection and has served as the vice chairwoman of the House select committee investigating the attack and the former president’s role in it.
Cheney said after she lost her primary race to a Trump-backed challenger in August that she was “thinking about” running for president. She told Politico in an interview that she hadn’t decided whether her run would be in a Republican primary or as an Independent.
The outgoing congresswoman said at The Washington Post’s Global Woman’s Summit last month that she is “confident” Trump will never be president again. She said in September that she will not remain in the party if Trump wins the Republican nomination.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was a Trump ally during the 2016 and 2020 elections but split with him after the end of the 2020 race and has become increasingly vocal about his opposition to Trump, most recently blaming the former president for the GOP’s performance in the midterms.
His recent remarks come after many Trump-backed candidates who were considered weaker general election choices lost in key races. Their defeats led to Democrats holding onto their majority in the Senate and Republicans only winning narrow control of the House.
Christie said during an appearance on “Real Time with Bill Maher” in October that he was not ruling out running for president a second time, his first being in 2016. He said at the time that he wanted to see what happens in the midterms to determine if a non-Trump candidate can win the nomination.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was a chief opponent of Trump during the Republican primaries in 2016 but emerged as one of his closest allies in the Senate during his administration. However, Cruz has hinted that he will consider a challenge to Trump in 2024.
He said at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual meeting last month that he is running for a third term to the Senate in 2024 but punted on the question of whether he should be considered a possible presidential candidate, saying there will be “plenty of time” to discuss the election.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has consistently placed in second in hypothetical GOP primary polls throughout this year, but polling since the midterms has shown him closing the gap with Trump even further — or in some cases leading.
DeSantis led Trump in polls in head-to-head matchups of four key states — Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida and Georgia — last month. And his support rose 11 points in a Harvard CAPS-Harris national poll last month from one taken the prior month, though Trump still led by double digits.
Analysts have pointed to the Florida governor as a big winner of the midterms, as he easily glided to victory in his reelection bid by 20 points, and Republicans in the state performed well up and down the ballot.
DeSantis himself has remained mostly quiet on any potential presidential ambitions and has avoided direct confrontations with Trump. But he criticized the Republican Party’s “huge underperformance” in the midterms and pointed to Florida as showing the party “how it’s done” at a press conference on Thursday.
He’s also set to release a memoir in late February entitled “The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival,” which will be about his formative years and time serving in the military and the government. Book releases have often accompanied candidates announcing presidential runs.
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley initially said that she would not run for the presidency if Trump made a third bid for the White House. But she has changed her tune since the midterms.
She said at the Republican Jewish Coalition meeting last month that she will look at running “in a serious way” now that the midterms are over.
“But I’ve never lost an election,” she added. “And I’m not gonna start now.”
Haley, who also previously served as governor of South Carolina, said at an event at Clemson University earlier this week that she will take time during the holidays to look at the “situation.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has been a vocal Republican critic of Trump since the former president launched his first White House run, refusing to vote for him in 2016 and considering a primary challenge to him in 2020.
Hogan did not deny a characterization that he was a rumored 2024 contender during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” last month, saying he thinks the “lane is much wider now” than it was weeks earlier.
Hogan, a moderate Republican who easily won the governorship in a solidly blue state, said the GOP needs to widen its appeal “like I’ve done in Maryland.”
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has called on the GOP to move on from the “Trump era” and said that the party needs more voices of “reality” in the aftermath of the midterms. He said he supports criticism that Trump has received from onetime allies following the election.
Hutchinson said in an interview on “CNN This Morning” last month that he is “very seriously” looking at running, saying he is planning to decide in January. He said he does not think Trump could win in a Republican primary since he is a “known quantity” spreading “chaos.”
“I’m encouraged that a governor who’s actually solved problems, who has a conservative, commonsense approach, can draw support and can be a good alternative,” Hutchinson said.
Trump has sharply criticized former Vice President Mike Pence since his refusal to go along with the former president’s attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Pence has been critical of Trump’s role in the insurrection and has made several notable public appearances ahead of a rumored presidential run.
He traveled to early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire to campaign with Republican candidates ahead of the midterms and has given speeches outlining his vision for the party.
He said “there might be somebody else I prefer more” when asked, at a Georgetown University event in October, if he would vote for Trump again.
Pence said in an interview with ABC’s David Muir after the midterms that he expects “better choices” than Trump for the GOP nomination in the future and also met with CNN’s Jake Tapper for a town hall to promote his new book.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo remained loyal to Trump throughout his presidency but has indicated an interest in running despite the former president’s own plans.
Pompeo told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on the day that Trump announced his candidacy that the announcement wouldn’t affect his own decisionmaking about whether to run. He called for “more seriousness” and “less noise” in the party.
“We need leaders that are looking forward, not staring in the rearview mirror claiming victimhood,” he said.
Pompeo tweeted after Trump’s announcement that the GOP is “tired of losing” despite Trump’s claims that it would become “tired of winning.” His tweet came ahead of his appearance at the Republican Jewish Coalition meeting, where many rumored GOP presidential candidates made remarks.
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