Almost exactly three months after former President Donald Trump said he would seek the White House again, his former UN ambassador Nikki Haley announced she would challenge him for the nomination.
Haley stepped out on the campaign trail officially Wednesday morning with an address from downtown Charleston, before heading to New Hampshire to speak to potential Republican primary voters Thursday and Friday.
And then on Thursday, South Carolina GOP Sen. Tim Scott will hold his own event in Charleston, before heading to Iowa, the state that will hold the first Republican caucus in early 2024.
Additionally, dark horse hopeful Steve Laffey – the former Cranston, Rhode Island, mayor and a businessman – has announced his intentions to run.
DailyMail.com looks at the strengths and challenges of 12 Republicans who are likeliest to challenge Trump and Haley, and asks what are their chances – realistically – of winning the ticket and the White House.
After three months of having no competition in the 2024 Republican field, former President Donald Trump finally has some rivals, with a number of other GOP politicians eying the race
Tim Scott: The black South Carolina Republican who has made himself a key figure in Congress
South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott is the only black Republican in Congress’ upper chamber, and is known for reaching across the aisle on racially-charged issues such as police reform.
South Carolina GOP Senator Tim Scott is the only black Republican in the Senate, but said this next six-year term will be his last
He said this term will be his last in the Senate and has made it apparent in recent days he’s testing the presidential waters.
There’s no greater clue that a politician wants the White House than booking trips to early primary states.
After Haley said she would be making an announcement in Charleston on February 15, Scott said he was launching a listening tour focused on ‘Faith in America’ and will appear in Charleston a day after Haley.
On Monday, Politico reported that Scott will participate in a presidential forum alongside Haley in South Carolina next month as well.
STRENGTHS: Remarking on how his grandfather had voted for President Barack Obama in 2012, the senator said: ‘I wish he had lived long enough to see perhaps another man of color elected president of the United States.
‘But this time let it be a Republican,’ he said, according to USA Today.
He’s known on Capitol Hill as a strong negotiator and was a leading force in promoting the law-and-order agenda in the 2020 and 2022 election cycles.
CHALLENGES: Name recognition and feasibility. Political consultants told New York Magazine that Scott could be ‘engaging in a sort of starter presidential campaign in order to build contacts and positive name ID for a future run … a respectable start, a signature moment or two, and a graceful exit from the 2024 contest may be the real goal.’
TRUMP-O-METER: Scott is highly religious and considered reasonable by Republicans and Democrats.
ODDS OF TOPPING THE GOP TICKET: Low but a possible contender for a Cabinet position.
Mike Pence: Former VP who has distanced himself from Trump and said there were ‘better choices’ for 2024
Mike Pence said during an interview on ABC News on Monday night that he was giving a 2024 bid ‘prayerful consideration’
Trump’s former vice president, Mike Pence, told ABC News on the eve of Trump’s announcement that there were ‘better choices’ for president and he was giving his own White House bid ‘prayer consideration.’
But he demurred when asked about his odds of beating Trump in a primary, emphasizing that it would be up to the voters.
Still, Pence has dropped numerous hints that he’s surveying the 2024 field.
Pence blasted Trump for his conduct on January 6, calling the angry tweets he published while his supporters were storming the US Capitol ‘reckless.’
Asked whether he’d support Trump in 2024 during a speech at Georgetown University last month, Pence said: ‘There might be somebody else I’d prefer more.’
Exceptional name recognition although for a variety of reasons. Latest AP polls show that GOP voters know who Pence is but not a fan because he stood up to Trump on January 6, 2021. The former vice president defied Trump by certifying the Electoral College vote and calling the insurrection ‘un-American’.
However, like Scott, Pence is also religious and strong supporter of pro-life legislation and policies.
The biggest challenges for the former Vice President are the legal ones including a subpoena issued by the Jan. 6 special counsel about Trump’s involvement in the Jan. 6 riot.
Like President Biden, classified documents were found in his Indiana home.
TRUMP-O-METER: Pence is the yang to Trump’s ying, meaning he’s subdued and thoughtful.
ODDS OF TOPPING THE GOP TICKET: Low but could poach some evangelical votes from Scott.
Ron DeSantis: The Republicans’ rising star after his emphatic Florida win – who is already in a war of words with Trump
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis cruised to a commanding victory in the November midterms, beating the state’s former governor and Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist by about 20 points.
Overall, his state of Florida saw Republicans over-perform compared to the rest of the country – and some pundits are crediting DeSantis’ influence.
DeSantis has embraced Trump’s ‘America First,’ combative style of politics that’s seen him, and his deputies create headlines for ‘anti-woke‘ clashes with the Biden administration, LGBTQ activists and the press.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who won re-election in a landslide last Tuesday, is widely seen as a potential 2024 frontrunner
For starters. DeSantis is less disliked than Biden and Trump and more popular than both in key states including: Florida, Texas, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
The Florida governor also performs better against Biden than Trump among older voters — an important constituency in the GOP’s coalition. DeSantis also performs better against Trump among Biden’s 2020 voters and has a larger advantage than Trump among people who voted for a Republican candidate in the 2022 midterm elections — suggesting energy among core base voters who were willing to show up in an off-year election.
For now, DeSantis is the leader of the pack, but we’ve seen this before and early leads often disappear in a blink of an eye.
We still don’t know his views on Ukraine and on highly controversial topic of Social Security and Medicare, programs that both Biden and Trump have insisted GOP protect, DeSantis has supported privatization which will hurt him with older voters.
TRUMP-O-METER: The Florida Governor is politically astute enough to thread the needle so as not to repel moderates and independents while still appealing to MAGA base. Unlike Trump, he doesn’t take the bait.
ODDS OF TOPPING THE GOP TICKET: Although DeSantis hasn’t officially put his hat into the ring, he’s currently the one to beat.
Mike Pompeo: Trump Cabinet official and foreign policy heavyweight who has defended his old boss… until recently
Another former Trump Cabinet official, ex-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, also appears to be putting the feelers out for his own presidential bid.
He’s long avoided weighing in on Trump personally and has defended his White House record whenever asked by the press, but tweets fired off by Pompeo after the midterms appear to be veiled criticisms of his old boss.
Another former Trump Cabinet official, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, is also reportedly considering a run
‘Conservatives are elected when we deliver. Not when we just rail on social media. That’s how we can win. We fight for families and a strong America,’ Pompeo wrote on November 10, two days after a slew of Trump-endorsed midterm candidates lost key races.
As former Secretary of State, Pompeo leverages his extensive foreign policy expertise especially as Ukraine, Russia, and China continues to be geo-political issues. In short: the more important national security is in the news cycle, the better his odds are.
The former congressman and CIA Director told audiences how he pines to be back in government, according to NBC. ‘I miss every single minute of it,’ he said last month.
Pompeo’s relationship with Trump is strong and those close to him say he’s leaning towards not running if Trump is in the race. But that’s never stopped those with political aspirations before.
TRUMP-O-METER: Pompeo is one of the very few that never fell out of the good graces of Trump. He knows how to finesse the good, the bad, and the ugly – personalities, that is.
ODDS OF TOPPING THE GOP TICKET: It all depends on national security concerns.
Liz Cheney: The Republican outcast from a political dynasty who could win voters from both sides of the aisle
Former Republican Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney left Congress in January after being walloped by Republican challenger Harriet Hageman in her district’s August GOP primary.
Now she has nothing to do but plot a political comeback.
The conservative daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney has earned bipartisan accolades for her vocal criticism of Trump and efforts to hold him to account as vice chair of the January 6 select committee.
Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney is also a possibility, but it’s unclear if she could pass a hyper-partisan GOP primary race
Cheney has not ruled out a 2024 bid when asked in multiple interviews, but she made one thing certain at The Texas Tribune Festival last year – that if Trump were the party nominee, she would leave the Republican Party.
And in that case, she could mount a third-party presidential bid and potentially play spoiler for her party.
Cheney is often described as a neoconservative, who has focused on national security, and support for the U.S. military. Known for being fiscally and socially conservative.
Detractors of Liz Cheney including Trump, have labeled her a ‘Rino’ – Republican in name only – but until January 6, 2021, she was the third ranking GOP House member.
TRUMP-O-METER: Cheney has made it known that she will ensure Trump will never return to the White House as president and was vice chair of the Jan. 6 committee.
ODDS OF TOPPING THE GOP TICKET: Slim to none but that doesn’t mean she won’t cause some mischief.
The congresswoman’s father is former Vice President Dick Cheney
Larry Hogan: Trump’s ‘RINO’ nemesis who has frequently criticized his leadership
Maryland’s term-limited Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has been a frequent critic of Trump’s on the airwaves since the former president left office last year.
The criticism has grown sharper against the backdrop of suggestions that Hogan could run for president himself, after months of advocating for ‘commonsense conservative’ leadership.
Maryland’s term-limited governor, Larry Hogan, has not shied away from criticizing Trump and said his own 2024 bid is up in the air
He actively acted against Trump-backed Republican Dan Cox’s campaign for Maryland governor while posing for pictures with Wes Moore, the Democrat who has since been sworn-in.
Hogan blamed Trump for the party’s losses in 2018, 2020 and 2022 and said continuing to follow him as leader is ‘the definition of insanity’ in an interview with CNN in the run-up to the ex-president’s November announcement.
‘Donald Trump kept saying, we’re going to be winning so much, we will get tired of winning. I’m tired of losing. I mean, that’s all he’s done,’ he said.
Hogan is known for his direct style and willingness to cross the aisle — a double-edged sword in the battle for the Republican ticket for the 2024 White House.
Remember that double-edged sword? Being a moderate and a ‘never-Trumper’ is a hard sell to voters who are more polarized than ever before. The former Maryland governor avoids commenting on social issues, was a strong proponent to stop the spread of COVID and known for telling residents to ‘wear the damn mask.’
TRUMP-O-METER: Hogan is an ardent and active critic of Trump.
ODDS OF TOPPING THE GOP TICKET: Very low but could help other candidates glean moderate and independent voters.
Glenn Youngkin: The Republican governor who burst onto the scene with his victory in Virginia – while distancing himself from Trump
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin made a splash on the political scene in 2021 when he scored an upset victory against Virginia Democratic powerhouse Terry McAuliffe to win the Commonwealth’s governor’s mansion.
He’s carefully toed the line between both factions of the GOP, appearing with and promoting Donald Trump-backed election deniers like Kari Lake while largely avoiding the former president on his own campaign trail.
After Youngkin refused to rule out a potential presidential bid in 2024, Trump launched a racially tinged attack against him on Truth Social.
‘Young Kin (now that’s an interesting take. Sounds Chinese, doesn’t it?) in Virginia couldn’t have won without me. I Endorsed him, did a very big Trump Rally for him telephonically, got MAGA to Vote for him – or he couldn’t have come close to winning. But he knows that, and admits it. Besides, having a hard time with the Dems in Virginia – But he’ll get it done!’ Trump wrote.
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, though a relative political newcomer, is on establishment Republicans’ radar as a conservative leader
Like Trump, the Virginia governor thrives on being an outsider but knows not to campaign with the former president while catering to election deniers.
Youngkin lacks national name recognition meaning his polling numbers are decidedly low. But he’s been considered a leading GOP contender since 2021 when he flipped the Commonweath from Democratic to Republican.
TRUMP-O-METER: He’s closely aligned with Trump’s vision for America.
ODDS OF TOPPING THE GOP TICKET: Low but a run for the 2024 GOP ticket would boost his bonafides across the U.S.
Chris Sununu: The popular New Hampshire governor from a GOP political dynasty who called Trump ‘crazy’ but now says it’s a joke
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu is testing the presidential waters but it’s unclear how far he’ll wade in.
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has launched a political committee that will allow him to raise unlimited fund should he decide to run
Earlier this month, Sununu launched the ‘Live Free or Die’ committee, a 501(c)4 that allows him to raise unlimited funds, usually an early sign a politician is readying a bid.
He also said he’d support Trump if he were the nominee, though said he didn’t believe the ex-president would win the nomination again.
STRENGTHS: Sununu brands himself as more sensible than the anti-‘woke’ DeSantis and didn’t skip President Joe Biden’s invitation to appear with him at the White House last week as part of the National Governors Association meeting.
He tried to make peace with the MAGA wing of his party, saying on CNN last week that it was merely a ‘funny joke’ when he called Trump ‘f***ing crazy’ at Washington’s white-tie Gridiron dinner last year.
‘I don’t think he’s so crazy that you could put him in a mental institution, but I think if he were in one, he ain’t getting out,’ Sununu also told the crowd about the ex-president.
TRUMP-O-METER: Sununu is the opposite of Trump: levelheaded, moderate and has a sense of humor.
ODDS OF TOPPING THE GOP TICKET: Low but potential Cabinet member
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu seems to be positioning himself for something. He’s made amends with the MAGA side of the party, while keeping moderates in the fold by not snubbing President Joe Biden and taking on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ anti-‘woke’ campaign
Asa Hutchinson: The former Arkansas governor who’s been open about launching a 2024 run
Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson hasn’t been shy about his presidential ambitions.
Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has openly said he’s interested in running for president in 2024 and has been making trip to Iowa
As Haley announced her presidential bid Tuesday, Hutchinson said he was headed back to Iowa Wednesday, as Republicans have maintained the first-in-the-nation caucuses.
‘Iowans set the tone in our electoral process and their voice is one that anyone contemplating higher office should not only seek out, but carefully listen to,’ Hutchinson said on Fox News.
Hutchinson, 72, has tried to characterize himself as a thought leader of the party, hosting a mix of Republicans to Arkansas in October for ‘America Leads: An Ideas Summit.’
Asked by the Associated Press if he was worried that a crowded GOP presidential field could help Trump win the nomination again, Hutchinson said no.
‘I think it will be much more methodical this cycle than what we’ve seen in previous years,’ he replied. ‘And I think that competition is good and healthy.’
Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he wasn’t worried that a crowded field would lead to another nomination of former President Donald Trump
Asa Hutchinson, who served eight years as the governor of Arkansas, is known for being fair, reasonable on both sides of the aisle. Earlier this month, he told CBS News that he plans to decide by April.
At 72 years of age, the GOP will need to decide if they want a generational change or institutional knowledge. If it’s the former, he’s not a contender.
TRUMP-O-METER: As a vocal critic of Trump, he hasn’t been shy about criticizing the former president. ‘I do believe that he disqualified himself and should not serve our country again as a result of what happened.’
ODDS OF TOPPING THE GOP TICKET: Slim but unwise to underestimate the former governor of Arkansas.
Greg Abbott: The Texas governor who easily beat Democratic darling Beto O’Rourke – but would he bite the hand who endorsed him?
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has left the door open for a 2024 bid, but he’s also suggested a run for the White House next year isn’t his top priority – and thus has not attracted Trump’s ire.
He was asked by Fox News in January, the day he was sworn-in for a third term, if he was ‘ruling out’ a presidential bid.
‘I think a more accurate way to say it is it’s not something I’m ruling in right now. I’m focused on Texas, period,’ Abbott answered.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to decide if he’s going to enter the 2024 race for the White House after May 2023
STRENGTHS: The Texas governor has built up a national brand based on his support for a tough border and the Second Amendment and opposition to abortion.
‘I have championed conservative causes because I believe that’s the right direction both for Texas as well as the United States,’ Abbott told Fox when asked about 2024.
CHALLENGES: Abbott has angered many key states for sending migrants to sanctuary cities including New York, Illinois and California.
TRUMP-O-METER: Controversial but not as bombastic as the former president.
ODDS OF TOPPING THE GOP TICKET: Low but definitely a power player in national politics.
Steve Laffey: A dark horse candidate who hopes to be the next Herman Cain
Steve Laffey, the former mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island, wants to be the Herman Cain of the 2024 presidential cycle
Steve Laffey, 61, is the former mayor of Cranston, Rhode Island, who says his career working in business, at a brokerage firm, means he has the right skills for this political moment – more so than the ex-president.
‘My experience in hiring and, unfortunately, firing and putting the right people in the right place is far better than what Donald Trump showed as president,’ he told DailyMail.com, adding: ‘I’m a financial expert. He, obviously, is not. He’s a real estate developer.’
His supporters called him brilliant and unafraid, while critics said he had a massive ego.
During a DailyMail.com interview, he acknowledged he was a presidential longshot.
STRENGTHS: At 61 years of age with some political experience, he’s in the sweet spot for attracting moderate or independent voters who want someone and something different for the Republican party.
CHALLENGES: Lacks national name recognition and foreign policy experience.
TRUMP-O-METER: Laffey was deemed so controversial that Republican party in Colorado threatened to support the Democratic candidate.
ODDS OF TOPPING THE GOP TICKET: Slim to none for the top prize on the Republican ticket for the White House.
Steve Laffey has launched a longshot bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination
Vivek Ramaswamy: A 37-year-old entrepreneur and author who’s made a name for himself by being anti-‘woke’
While he hasn’t officially entered the race like Laffey, another dark horse candidate, 37-year-old Vivek Ramaswamy is laying the groundwork to launch a presidential bid by making treks to Iowa, which holds the first caucus.
Ramaswamy is a successful entrepreneur and reportedly worth around $500 million – giving him a leg up as he won’t need to rely on early fundraising.
His latest book, Woke, Inc., argues that politics doesn’t belong in business – and has made him a rising star on the political right.
Ramaswamy told Politico that his anti-wokeness activism was inspired by hearing his fellow business elites say one thing in public – towing the progressive line – while in private saying they were sick of social activism.
37-year-old Vivek Ramaswamy is laying the groundwork to launch a presidential bid by making treks to Iowa, which holds the first caucus.
STRENGTHS: Ramaswamy said he plans to run on the platform of defeating China, firing the ‘managerial class’ of federal workers and shrinking the number of federal agencies, reforming the national security apparatus and doing away with affirmative action.
CHALLENGES: Lacks national name recognition and any political experience.
TRUMP-O-METER: Similar to Trump regarding nationalism and reducing the size of government.
ODDS OF TOPPING THE GOP TICKET: Slim to none for this first-time political candidate.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk