While the 2022 midterm elections are still six months away, the presidential primary season often begins immediately after the midterm elections. Only whispers and rumblings about probable candidates for the Republicans in 2024 have been made public. The top 10 candidates who are potential nominees are listed below as of May 2022.
Donald Trump is one; if Trump runs so, it would be a really, really big question. We may all read too much into the tea leaves in that regard, but it’s somewhat astonishing that Trump hasn’t made more of the fact that his Supreme Court choices appear poised to overturn Roe v. Wade. After a couple of high-profile defeats and possibly another one in Georgia, it will be interesting to see how Trump’s candidates perform in a number of tough primaries in the following weeks. Whatever transpires will send a message to his possible rivals and possibly even to Trump himself about whether he wants to even take the chance that the party will reject his candidacy.
We’re beginning to believe that he may seriously challenge Trump in a rematch, something DeSantis has pointedly refused to rule out. Most surveys indicate that Trump’s deficit would begin in the teens or 20s, with support below majority levels. Although Trump has a sizable lead, it won’t be insurmountable over the next two years. In actuality, one would anticipate a candidate of Trump’s stature to hold such a lead at a time when so few people are paying attention and are likely unfamiliar with DeSantis.
It’s tough to imagine him as a front-runner for the GOP candidacy, given how dramatically his support inside the party declined after January 6. However, they didn’t actually plunge from a cliff. Again, given the circumstances, he appears to be negotiating a challenging scenario reasonably successfully, building his own brand and softly criticizing Trump without incurring repercussions. That will be tested in the following week.
Of all the candidates on this list, Haley may be the most boom-or-bust. She has demonstrated genuine political aptitude, but she also leads the pack of Republicans who gravely erred in judgment after January 6, 2021 (or, more likely, articulated what she truly believed). She gave a series of contrasting opinions regarding the direction the party should go toward Trump. She resembles House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in that regard, for example, though Haley publicly committed more to the idea of a post-Trump party than McCarthy did, only to back down when it became evident it wasn’t a wise political move.
Along with Ron DeSantis and Dwayne “The Rock,” Johnson was recently named by former Trump White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney as one of the three contenders who may defeat him in a primary. It seems doubtful that Johnson would run as a Republican (but we can’t laugh off these things as easily as we previously could). Scott recently criticized Janet L. Yellen, the Treasury Secretary, for her remarks on the financial effects of outlawing abortion.
Speaking of Republicans who have opposed Trump’s selected nominee, the Texas senator campaigned in favor of Dave McCormick just before the Pennsylvania primary in opposition to Trump’s selection of Mehmet Oz. McCormick, according to Cruz, was the most conservative candidate with a chance of winning the Senate seat. The contest between McCormick and Oz now seems headed for a recount, with Oz holding the slimmest of advantages.
Donald Trump Jr
In case you had any doubt about what kind of campaign Trump Jr. would run, he recently criticized Congress for sending money to the “clown show” in Ukraine and suggested it was a good idea to bomb Mexican cartels. Whenever Trump Jr. is polled in a race without his father, he does remarkably well for a political novice. But he also seems pretty content to be bomb-thrower hurling provocations from the sidelines.
The governor of Virginia recently had to deal with one of his first significant points of contention with the GOP base: his circumspect response to requests to take action against demonstrations outside the houses of the Supreme Court justices in his state. Such protests appear to be against Virginia state law as well, but Youngkin ultimately joined Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) in asking the Justice Department to take action rather than requesting state intervention.
The governor of New Hampshire, one of just a few prominent Republicans in the nation to favor abortion rights, is currently forced to walk a fine line. He made it clear that he would continue to support abortion in New Hampshire as “safe and lawful” when the news of the leaked Supreme Court draught judgment went viral. However, he also asserted this week that he had “done more on the pro-life issue” than any other New Hampshire governor in recent years because he had signed a law outlawing abortions after 24 weeks. It’s a lot to ask in today’s GOP to navigate both his Trump attacks and his views on abortion.
Mr. Asa Hutchinson
It has long been unclear whether the GOP will ever select a Trump skeptic in 2024, even a moderate one. Although “no” is still most likely the response, the governor of Arkansas has outlined an intriguing course. He has been criticized for his party’s overzealous approach to passing laws addressing transgender rights and punishing purportedly “progressive” firms. And on the latter, he criticized Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who many believe will succeed Trump (R). Hutchinson has also embraced the idea of running for politics, recently declaring that it is “on the table” after he leaves office in 2022 and that the likelihood of Trump’s candidacy won’t necessarily deter him.
Is there any Tug Of War between Donald Trump and Mike Pence ?
Tuesday’s Georgia gubernatorial primary pits Trump against Pence, sort of, after Pence made the curious choice to enter the race late for Gov. Brian Kemp (R). It’s difficult to overstate the significance of this; Mike Pence has previously supported GOP candidates that lean toward the establishment, like Kemp. Even choosing to appear in public for Kemp on the night of the primary, Pence must have known that this would be upsetting to Trump.
Right now, it seems like everything will work out well. In a recent Fox News poll, Kemp had a 60 percent to 32 percent advantage over former Georgia senator David Perdue (R), making him the clear favorite. Kemp was already showing double-digit advantages, so his victory wouldn’t necessarily help Pence’s political standing, but it would be a welcome boost for him and his presidential ambitions.
And it’s only the most recent instance of Pence deliberately putting some distance between himself and former President Donald Trump. And he has quite successfully avoided the possible pitfalls: Trump has blasted the former vice president for not supporting him in his efforts to rig the 2020 election, but his criticisms haven’t amounted to the kind of persistent campaign he frequently mounts against his disloyal supporters.
Pence has denounced Trump’s plan to have him annul the election as “un-American”; it turns out that Republicans agree with Pence on this point. After Trump complimented Putin’s purported strategic brilliance, he also targeted his party’s “apologists” for Putin. And now he makes a prominent endorsement against Trump.
What would happen if, after May 24, it became widely believed that Pence had defeated Trump in a proxy war? Trump’s response would reveal a lot about his ambitions for 2024 and Pence’s risk. These factors have caused us to temporarily move Pence up our preliminary list of the most likely GOP candidates for president in 2024. This list, as usual, takes into account each candidate’s likelihood of winning as well as their likelihood of running in the first place.
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