My1sttoday Politics — Here’s the top 5 Republican 2024 Presidential contenders. Its obvious that the former president, Donald Trump still dominates the GOP but it looks like he’s not getting the presidential ticket prone to Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection.
As a reminder, Trump leads early 2024 polls by a wide margin. But there is no guarantee that the ever-unpredictable Trump will enter the race. And there is a growing consensus among Republican insiders that, if he does, he will face a serious challenge. And yes the GOP will love to be in power for the next eight years, more reasons for choosing a fresh candidate who can go for two tenures.
So, if the 2024 GOP nominee ends up being someone other than Trump, who’s getting the ticket?
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
DeSantis is Trump’s most serious rival at this early stage. The Florida governor has a multilayered appeal. Conservatives loved his pushback against mask and vaccine mandates during the pandemic. He has embraced the culture wars with vigor, including his advocacy of legislation that liberal critics dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
The mere fact that DeSantis sparks such ire from left-leaning voters is almost certainly an asset in a GOP primary. More concretely, DeSantis is a prodigious fundraiser. He surpassed $100 million in his reelection coffers this spring.
Some folks think he is the clearest example of the kind of candidate — populist but disciplined — who would have a real shot of beating Trump.
Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas)
Cruz ended up in second place to Trump in the 2016 nominating process.
Could he benefit from the GOP’s tendency to nominate a figure who is seen as next in line? Maybe.
Cruz is a down-the-line conservative, and his pugnacious political persona enthuses his supporters.
But he also has a habit of rubbing people the wrong way. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) joked years ago that “If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you.” (Graham later apologized.)
Cruz’s speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention, in which he conspicuously failed to endorse Trump, still sticks in the throats of many of the former president’s supporters.
Still, Cruz knows what it takes to build a presidential campaign, he’s had a national profile for years and he’s a fierce competitor. One added complication: He is up for reelection to the Senate in 2024.
Former VP Mike Pence
Former VP Pence is in the spotlight, whether it’s welcome or otherwise, this week. The Jan. 6 committee’s Thursday hearing was focused on Trump’s efforts to pressure Pence to help overturn the election. Pence famously resisted — putting his life in danger in the process.
Pence’s steadfastness on that issue, though praised by many beyond the GOP, could be a problem in a presidential primary. Pence’s main calling card in such a race would be his closeness to Trump while in office, but the most fervent Trump supporters won’t easily forget what they see as a betrayal on Jan. 6. “There are Never Pencers out there for sure, and that will be a challenge,” said GOP strategist Brad Blakeman. “But I don’t think it is insurmountable.” Others are not so sure Pence can get over the hurdle.
“Pence is a spent bullet,” said one conservative leader supportive of Trump. “He was a great vice president, but he has no grassroots support. He is the choice of the donor class.”
Pence has distanced himself further from Trump in recent months, stating plainly that Trump was “wrong” to think he could overturn the election and campaigning for incumbent Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), whom Trump was desperate to oust.
He is a canny politician and has deep roots in the religious right. It’s just not clear how far those assets would take him in a crowded field, we’ll see.
Former Sec.State Mike Pompeo
Pompeo’s presidential ambitions seem crystal clear. Within a couple of months of President Biden assuming office, Pompeo was visiting Iowa and helping fundraise for a Republican in New Hampshire, traditionally the two first-to-vote states in the primary process.
Pompeo’s time as secretary of State and, prior to that, as CIA director, gives him plenty of experience to highlight if the political conversation turns to foreign affairs or national security.
To skeptics, Pompeo lacks charisma. They also note he has never run for statewide elected office. Prior to his appointment as CIA director in 2017, he had served three terms in the House representing a Kansas district.
Still, “he is in many ways the rightful heir to the Trump legacy; he was responsible for most, if not all, of his foreign policy agenda; and he understands Trump and Trump voters,” said Mackowiak. “I would not underestimate Mike Pompeo.”
Sen. Tim Scott (South Carolina)
If Republicans want a nominee who can unite the pro-Trump and Trump-skeptical wings of their party, and perhaps broaden its appeal among the electorate at large, Scott could be a real contender.
Conservatives like Scott’s record and up-from-his-bootstraps personal story, and even political opponents often like him personally. He is the sole Black Republican senator as well.
Scott worked with Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) on proposals for policing reform for months in 2021, though the effort did not ultimately succeed. “Tim Scott is potentially the best unifier candidate Republicans could have,” said Doug Heye, a former communications director of the Republican National Committee. “He is the antithesis of polarization.”
It’s hard to find people with bad things to say about Scott. The doubt most often voiced about a potential presidential candidacy is whether he really wants it enough. Some who know him feel he’d be as happy returning to private life as he would be walking the West Wing.