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The five Republicans who could challenge Trump in 2024

·6 min read

Former President Trump has hinted repeatedly that he’s weighing another bid for the White House in 2024.

And while he’s made clear that, if he does so, the nomination should be his for the taking, he could still face some competition. A number of Republicans have begun maneuvering toward presidential campaigns of their own, some more overtly than others.

Of course, there’s a political risk that comes with challenging Trump. But that doesn’t appear to be deterring some prospective candidates.

Here are the five Republicans who could challenge Trump for the party’s 2024 presidential nod.

Ron DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has brushed off suggestions that he will mount a presidential campaign in 2024, saying that his No. 1 priority is winning a second term in the governor’s mansion.

But he also hasn’t explicitly ruled out the possibility, and unlike several other prospective GOP presidential contenders, he hasn’t committed to forgoing a White House bid if Trump launches a comeback campaign.

And with his clout among Republicans on the rise, it’s possible that, if DeSantis ultimately decides to run in 2024, he may not be deterred by the former president.

Early polling shows him as the heavy favorite for the Republican presidential nomination if Trump doesn’t run again. There are even a few recent surveys that show him topping Trump in a hypothetical primary match-up.

DeSantis’s growing momentum and influence within the GOP suggests that he may ultimately have a path to the nomination, with or without Trump in the race, especially given the fact that he still has plenty of room to grow his name ID among Republicans nationally.

Mike Pence

Despite running afoul of Trump early last year when he rebuffed the former president’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, former Vice President Mike Pence has begun more aggressively positioning himself for a potential White House bid in recent months.

He’s given a series of high-profile speeches, traveled to crucial early presidential primary and caucus states and even made a trip to the Ukraine-Poland border amid Russia’s ongoing invasion.

Pence is also among a small group of Republicans considering a White House run, regardless of what Trump decides to do in 2024.

While he has isolated parts of Trump’s conservative voter base with his insistence that he had no right to overturn the results of the 2020 election, Pence has cast himself as a successor to the former president’s policy legacy. He’s touted his work with Trump, while also fashioning himself as a protector of democratic institutions in the face of efforts to tear them down.

All that is to say that Pence might just be willing to take his chances in a potential 2024 match-up against his former boss.

Mike Pompeo

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earned a reputation as one of Trump’s most loyal advisers and Cabinet members during his four years in the White House.

But he’s since taken steps away from the former president, all the while seeking to boost his post-administration political profile.

Not long after leaving the State Department, Pompeo created a political action committee dubbed Champion American Values PAC — or CAVPAC — and has actively endorsed in midterm races across the country, at times putting himself at odds with Trump.

In the GOP Senate primary in Pennsylvania, for instance, Pompeo backed former hedge fund CEO David McCormick over Trump’s pick for the nomination, celebrity physician Mehmet Oz. Pompeo even held a press briefing ahead of the primary in which he raised concerns about Oz’s ties to Turkey.

The former secretary of State has also hinted that his plans for 2024 aren’t contingent on what Trump does, telling Fox News in an interview that any decision about his political future will be his and his alone.

“The Pompeos have always used the simple fact of do you believe this is the moment where you think you can best serve America, this is the place you can have the most impact,” Pompeo said. “That will be how we make our decision in the end.”

Larry Hogan

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has long been one of Trump’s most prominent Republican critics, so the idea of him challenging the former president for the 2024 GOP nomination isn’t exactly surprising.

A Republican governor of a blue state, Hogan has carved out a reputation for himself as a more traditional conservative in the mold of someone like former President Reagan.

He’s warned repeatedly that a 2024 Trump candidacy could cost the GOP the White House once again and has called on the party to look toward its future rather than linger on Trump’s 2020 loss.

Hogan is term-limited and isn’t seeking reelection this year. And while that frees him up to plot his next political steps, it also comes with another risk: remaining in the spotlight after he officially exits public office.

Still, he’s not exactly playing coy with the possibility of a 2024 run. In a February appearance on CNN, Hogan said that he’s “certainly going to take a look” at a White House bid once he leaves office next January.

Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has never really been shy about his political ambitions. After all, he has already run for president once, finishing second to Trump in the 2016 Republican presidential primary.

Despite a bitter nominating contest between the two men six years ago, Cruz emerged as an ardent supporter of the former president during his time in the White House. But the Texas senator has also shown a willingness to break with Trump, especially when it comes to whom he endorses.

In the Ohio GOP Senate primary, for instance, Cruz was vocal in his support for former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, while Trump backed author and venture capitalist J.D. Vance. Vance ultimately won the nomination.

And Cruz has also been more open than most about his willingness to launch another bid for the White House. Asked in a December interview with the conservative news outlet The Truth Gazette whether he would consider another presidential campaign, Cruz responded: “Absolutely. In a heartbeat.”

“There’s a reason historically that the runner-up is almost always the next nominee,” Cruz said, referring to his second-place primary finish in 2016. “And that’s been true going back to Nixon or Reagan or McCain or Romney that has played out repeatedly. You come in with just an enormous base of support.”

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