Former President Donald Trump’s expected to make what he’s advertising as a “special announcement” on Tuesday night, which will likely ignite the 2024 White House race.
Trump, nearly two years since his 2020 presidential election defeat at the hands of President Biden, remains the most popular and influential politician in the GOP, the most ferocious fundraiser among the grassroots, and the overwhelming current leader in early 2024 GOP nomination polling.
But his 2024 announcement, according to a host of Republican leaders and strategists, is not expected to clear the field of potential contenders for the GOP nomination.
Voices of discontent are growing inside the party, thanks to a growing chorus of criticism blaming Trump for setbacks in the 2018 midterms (when the GOP lost the House majority), the 2020 election (when Republicans lost the White House and the Senate majority), and the 2022 midterms (when an expected red wave failed to materialize).
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Longtime leading Republican fundraiser David Tamasi, who bundled for Trump in 2016 and 2020 but no longer supports the former president, told Fox News that “while there might be some pockets of financial support for him,” top dollar donors ” are tired of losing.”
And popular Republican Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, who cruised to re-election last week by double digits, emphasized that a Trump 2024 announcement “does not clear the field.”
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Sununu, who hasn’t entirely ruled out a White House run of his own, argued that “anyone who wants to run is still going to run.”
With that in mind, here’s a look at the other major potential contenders in the burgeoning 2024 Republican presidential nomination race.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
After narrowly winning election as Florida governor in 2018, Republican Ron DeSantis won re-election last week in a landslide.
DeSantis, who at age 44 is 32 years younger than Trump, won his first election as governor thanks to a major assist from the then-president. But he’s become a force of his own as he’s built a political brand that stretches from coast to coast.
Florida’s governor has seen his popularity soar among conservatives across the country the past two and a half years, courtesy of his forceful pushback against coronavirus pandemic restrictions and his aggressive actions as a culture wars warrior, as he’s targeted the media and corporations.
While DeSantis for over a year has routinely discounted talk of a 2024 White House bid as he stayed laser focused on his gubernatorial re-election, he potentially dropped some hints last week during his Election Night victory speech.
“We have rewritten the political map,” DeSantis declared. “While our country flounders due to failed leadership in Washington, Florida is on the right track.”
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And he took in the scene as a chant of “two more years! Two more years,” broke out among supporters urging the governor to consider a national run in 2024.
As DeSantis seen his poll numbers in 2024 Republican presidential polls start to rival Trump, and his fundraising prowess match that of the former president, Trump in recent months has targeted the Florida governor. And Trump has turned up the volume on his attacks on DeSantis in the days just before and after the midterms, and debuted a new nickname for the governor: “Ron DeSanctimonius.”
DeSantis has refused to take the bait, electing not to engage with Trump’s taunts.
If DeSantis decides to launch a 2024 campaign, don’t expect an announcement anytime soon. A source in the governor’s wider political orbit tells Fox News any announcement wouldn’t happen until after Florida’s legislative session ends in May.
Former Vice President Mike Pence
Hours before Trump delivers his “special announcement” on the 2024 campaign, his former right-hand man’s much anticipated memoir is making headlines.
In “So Help Me God,” former Vice President Mike Pence showcases successes of the Trump-Pence administration, but also spotlights new criticisms of Trump that will generate plenty of headlines.
And in his first major book tour interview, on Monday on the eve of the publishing of the memoir, Pence revisited the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by right wing extremists aiming to upend congressional certification of Biden’s 2020 victory over Trump, which Pence was overseeing.
“The president’s words [on 6 January 2021] were reckless and his actions were reckless. The president’s words that day at the rally endangered me and my family and everyone at the Capitol building,” Pence told ABC News.
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The former vice president, as part of his crisscrossing the country the past year and a half on behalf of Republicans running in last week’s elections, made numerous stops in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, the first four states to vote in the GOP presidential nominating calendar. Pence, a former congressman and Indiana governor, has been making the moves, such as building relationships in the early voting presidential primary and caucus states, that often precede the launch of an actual White House campaign.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
Pompeo, like Pence, has been a very frequent visitor to the early voting states the past year and a half.
“Whether we’ll decide to get in the race and run for president, I can’t answer,” Pompeo, an Army officer stationed in Germany during the Cold War who was later elected to Congress from Kansas before serving as CIA director and America’s top diplomat during the Trump administration, told Fox News during a stop in New Hampshire in September.
But he emphasized “we are doing the things that one would do to be ready to make such an announcement and then to engage with the American people on the ideas that we believe matter,” Pompeo emphasized.
And Pompeo’s political action committee has gone up with ads in the early voting states, another sign he’s seriously mulling a White House bid.
Former ambassador Nikki Haley
Haley, a former two-term South Carolina governor who served as ambassador to the United Nations during the first half of the Trump presidency, is another Trump administration alumni who was very busy during the 2022 campaigning on behalf of fellow Republicans and making numerous stops in the early primary and caucus states.
Haley, like Pence and Pompeo, has demurred when asked if she’ll launch a presidential campaign. But she reiterates “we’ll figure it out. But you know what I’ve said — I’ve never lost a race. I’m not going to start now. If there’s place for me, we’ll put a 100% in, and we’ll finish it.”
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin
Youngkin was a politician on demand on the campaign trail this summer and autumn, helping fellow Republicans running in the midterms.
Youngkin energized Republicans nationwide a year ago, as the first-time candidate who hailed from the party’s business wing edged out former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe to become the first GOP candidate in a dozen years to win a gubernatorial election in the one-time swing state that had trended towards the Democrats over the past decade.
The governor’s 2022 travels have sparked plenty of speculation regarding his potential national ambitions in 2024.
Youngkin emphasized in a recent Fox News interview that “we’ll have to see how things pan out” as he reiterated that he’s “incredibly flattered by this discussion” and “the fact that my name is in the national mix is pretty overwhelming.”
Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina
Scott, a rising star in the GOP, one of the party’s top fundraisers, and the only Black Republican in the Senate, easily cruised to re-election last week to what he’s said will be his final six-year term in the Senate.
While Scott’s repeatedly demurred when asked about 2024, he raised eyebrows last week at his re-election victory celebration by telling the story of how took his grandfather to the polls in 2012, and that his grandfather proudly voted for him as well as for Democratic President Barack Obama, the nation’s first Black president.
“I wish he had lived long enough to see perhaps another man of color elected President of the United States,” Scott said, before adding “but this time let it be a Republican.”
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan
The popular term-limited GOP governor of blue state Maryland has been a frequent visitor to New Hampshire this year, as well as making stops in Iowa.
Hogan, a vocal Republican critic of Trump who touts that he’s a “commonsense conservative,” told Fox News earlier this autumn that “I think there are 10 people who want to be the next Donald Trump and I think there may be a different lane” for someone like him.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas
Cruz, the runner-up to Trump in the combustible 2016 GOP presidential nomination race, has consistently not ruled out making another White House run. He’s stopped a handful of times over the past year and a half in the early voting states and has told Fox News and other news organizations that “when I ran in ’16, it was the most fun I’ve had in my life.”
The conservative firebrand from Texas has also said when it comes to deciding on whether he’ll make another White House run, he’ll “want and see” what Trump decides.
Others to keep an eye on
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who was just re-elected last week, is popular with conservatives and Trump’s MAGA loyalists. Pundits view her as a potential contender if Trump decides against running, and a possible running mate if Trump runs.
Sen. Rick Scott of Florida has repeatedly said he’s running for re-election in 2024. But pundits view the multi-millionaire and the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee this cycle as a potential White House hopeful.
Former two-term Gov. Chris Christie, known as one of the GOP’s best communicators, has no problem speaking publicly about his likely national ambitions, unlike many of the other possible 2024 contenders.
Christie, a 2016 Republican presidential candidate who was the first of Trump’s rivals to endorse him after dropping out of the race, in the wake of the Jan. 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol turned into a very vocal Republican Trump critic.
“I’m definitely thinking about it. I haven’t made any final decisions about what I’m going to do or not do and I won’t make any final decision until next year,” Christie told Fox News Digital earlier this autumn.
Sen. Marco Rubio, a veteran of the 2016 GOP presidential nomination firefights with Trump, last week rolled to a large double-digit re-election victory. The senior senator from Florida has consistently not ruled out making another White House run in the future.
Term-limited Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas is in Iowa on Tuesday and Wednesday. Aides tell Fox News Hutchinson “is thinking about his options for” a presidential run and that the governor “will meet with major political players” during his visit.
Hutchinson made a trip to New Hampshire in the spring and told Fox News this past summer that he wants a role in helping to shape the future of the GOP, which “might lead to a presidential campaign down the road.”