By Nathan Cartmell
Several Republican presidential candidates are competing in the GOP primaries and caucuses, which start in January, to secure the party’s nomination and challenge President Joe Biden in November 2024. Here are some of the notable candidates.
Former President Donald Trump is seeking to reclaim the White House in November 2024, hoping to become the second U.S. president to win two non-consecutive terms. Despite losing the 2020 election to Joe Biden, Trump continues to deny the outcome and spread unfounded conspiracy theories about election fraud. He has been impeached twice by the U.S. House of Representatives, including for his role in inciting the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. As of August 2023, Trump is facing 91 criminal charges across four separate cases, including allegations of mishandling classified documents and attempting to overturn the 2020 election result. If he wins another term, Trump has promised to make significant changes to the federal government and cut social safety net programs. He has also threatened retribution against his political opponents and vowed to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Biden and his family.
The governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, announced his intention to run for president in May 2023. He aims to provide new leadership for the country and reverse its decline. DeSantis is known for his strong leadership style and he gained national attention during the COVID-19 pandemic by opening schools early and opposing lockdowns, mask mandates, and vaccine requirements. Before becoming governor, DeSantis represented a district in northeast Florida in the U.S. House and was a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus. While in Congress, he strongly supported former President Trump, but their relationship has since deteriorated and they have exchanged sharp criticisms during the campaign.
In February 2023, Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina, announced her bid for the Republican presidential nomination. She is advocating for a new era of leadership within the party, with a focus on economic responsibility, national security, and strengthening the southern border. If successful, she would make history as the first woman and Asian American to be nominated by the GOP for president. Haley was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 2004, and six years later, she became the youngest governor in the country and the first woman to hold the position in the Palmetto State. In 2017, she resigned from her second term as governor to become the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President Donald Trump, who is now her rival for the 2024 GOP nomination. She served in that role until the end of 2018.
A candidate for the GOP nomination, former Vice President Mike Pence, presents himself as a traditional conservative. He aims to tackle the U.S. debt, reduce the size of the federal government, increase domestic energy production, and maintain support for U.S. allies overseas. Along with his political views, Pence is vocal about his Christian faith and his opposition to abortion and gender-transition treatment for minors. Pence announced his campaign in June 2023, implicitly criticizing his primary rival and former boss, Donald Trump. He stated that Trump “should never” be president again due to his actions following the 2020 election. Pence and Trump had a falling out after the vice president refused Trump’s requests to overturn the election results on Jan. 6, 2021, during Congress’ certification of Joe Biden’s victory.
Vivek Ramaswamy, a tech entrepreneur and writer, launched his presidential campaign as an outsider in February 2023. His primary focus is to counteract the “woke” ideology, expose corrupt practices of the government, and encourage younger voters to join the Republican Party. At 38 years old, Ramaswamy is the youngest candidate in the GOP field. He achieved success in the private sector by starting Roivant Sciences, a biotech company, and Strive Asset Management, an investment management firm that specializes in “anti-woke” asset management. This means that ESG factors, or environmental, social, and corporate governance, are not considered when investing. Ramaswamy has authored books such as “Woke Inc.” and “Nation of Victims.”
In June 2023, at a town hall in New Hampshire, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced his second presidential campaign. During his campaign trail, Christie emphasized his willingness to confront former President Donald Trump, criticizing him on various issues such as his legal troubles and foreign policy. In the past, Christie had endorsed Trump during the 2016 GOP primary and had also served as a close advisor to him during his 2020 reelection campaign. However, after Trump’s false statements about the 2020 election and his attempts to overturn the results, Christie became one of his most vocal Republican critics. Christie had previously served as the governor of New Jersey for two terms after winning the 2009 election against Democrat Jon Corzine. He left office in 2018 after facing the Bridgegate scandal and a 2017 state government shutdown. Christie had also worked as the U.S. attorney for New Jersey from 2002 to 2008 under President George W. Bush, where he earned a reputation for being tough on corruption.
While these are just a few candidates, the Republican docket is still thinning out in the run up to the 2024 election.