Image Courtesy of Noah Slayter
By Noah Slayter
It’s off to the races for the presidential primary season and candidates are preparing to announce their intentions to run in the upcoming months. Both Donald Trump and Nikki Haley have already declared their candidacy, and this is only the beginning of what is predicted to be a heavily-populated primary. According to experts, here are the most likely candidates for the Republican nomination:
The Trump campaign is gearing up for a marathon. While he has the necessary name recognition, as well as $95 million in his war chest, he still seems to have trouble fundraising due to a number of high-profile donors abandoning him for other candidates. The former president is currently beating both Biden and Harris in polling. According to a new Quinnipiac Poll, Trump also has a very slight lead against Florida governor Ron Desantis, Trump’s top rival for the nomination.
After Trump, Haley is the second person of note to announce her campaign for the presidency. Haley became the first woman of color to become a U.S. governor in 2010. Polling numbers during the race placed Haley in dead last for the Republican nomination until a surprise endorsement from Sarah Palin pushed her to the finish line. She was reelected in 2014 and then went on to become UN Ambassador during the Trump Administration in 2017.
Desantis is the current governor of Florida and one of the front runners for the Republican nomination. Desantis was a JAG officer for the U.S. Navy, later serving as a federal prosecutor. In 2012, he was elected to Congress and then elected governor of Florida in 2019, which he won by a very small margin. He was reelected in 2022 with a 19-point landslide. There is currently a strong divide among GOP voters between Desantis and Trump regarding who should be the Republican nominee.
The former vice president has made numerous hints towards announcing his candidacy, including saying that Nikki Haley “may have more company soon.” Pence has recently made the rounds with early primary states like New Hampshire and South Carolina. Many are questioning Pence’s viability in a GOP primary since he lost backing from Trump supporters. Trump recently said Pence was “mortally wounded” due to his role during the 2020 election certification.
Youngkin, the current governor of Virginia, has made serious political strides with parents’ rights and education. Suburban women, arguably the most crucial voting bloc, who helped win the 2020 election in favor of President Biden, shifted dramatically in favor of Youngkin during his 2021 race.
Noem, the current and first female governor of South Dakota, gained national attention for her anti-lockdown policies during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Noem recently made comments to “Gray” from the Washington News Bureau on her decision to run, stating: “I hope we get the best leader in the White House to lead this country, not just being willing to take on the tough issues and tough decisions as we face some of these challenges like we’ve seen that are unprecedented, but also gives us a little hope and a vision for the future.” She did not give a definitive answer on her intentions to run.
Daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney, Liz Cheney has drawn serious ire from Republicans for involving herself in the January 6th House Committee investigation, the only GOP representative to participate. It is speculated that Cheney may run as a “dark horse.” However, considering she lost the single Wyoming congressional seat in 2022 to a Trump-backed competitor, sources such as the Washington Post claim that the odds are against her.
Hogan has just finished up his term as governor of Maryland. Recently, he said to Jake Tapper of CNN that “I’ll make a decision about 2024 after I finish this job.” Hogan was reelected in Maryland, making him the first Republican in the state to be reelected in 242 years.
Pompeo, Trump’s former Secretary of State, seemed to be preparing for a campaign announcement within “a couple of months,” according to the New York Post. The secretary became a congressman for Kansas in 2011, then left to be Trump’s Director of the CIA in 2017. He was made Secretary of State in 2018. In January, Pompeo published a book called Never Give an Inch which has been called an “attack memoir” on President Trump.
Abbott is the current governor of Texas. Though it is likely that he will not run for President, the same is being said of Texas Senator Ted Cruz. While he has not made any definitive statements regarding his candidacy, Abbott has not made any indication that he will run. This would be the first time since the 1970’s that there is no viable Texas politician in the running for president.