A field of more than a dozen Republican candidates is taking shape for the 2024 presidential nomination, with former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis leading the charge, according to a new report.
Not including Trump, the most serious candidates are DeSantis, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and former Vice President Mike Pence.
Less serious candidates include former U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson.
The field of candidates, highlighted by The Washington Post, is emerging despite strong signals coming from Trump that he will run again in 2024.
It’s clear that the candidate that Trump fears the most is also the candidate that Democrats fear the most: DeSantis.
“DeSantis’ rising star within GOP ranks is said to have rattled the former president so much that he is now looking at various ways to unsettle any plans the Florida governor may have for a presidential bid of his own,” the Daily Mail reported. “They include Trump launching his 2024 from the Sunshine State and hosting a massive party close to the governor’s mansion. ”
NBC News reported that Trump is considering announcing his presidential campaign as early as this summer in an apparent bid to take the lead among the 2024 GOP candidates because DeSantis is currently in the middle of running for re-election in Florida’s gubernatorial race.
However, the power players in the Republican Party are concerned that Trump announcing a presidential campaign before the upcoming midterm elections could boost the Democrat Party. Even Trump’s advisers “continue to urge him not to announce a campaign before the midterm elections, since they fear it would help Democratic efforts to frame Senate and congressional campaigns around the divisive former president,” the Post added.
DeSantis poses unique challenges to Trump, including the fact that Trump’s base loves DeSantis and recent polling from Echelon Insights shows that Trump’s lead over DeSantis “shrinks significantly among those who are familiar and favorable toward both candidates.” Even more recent polling from Echelon Insights shows that DeSantis has a commanding double-digit lead over the next highest candidate, Pence, in a Republican Party primary if Trump does not enter the race.
In a primary matchup between Trump and DeSantis, Trump’s margin shrinks significantly among those who are familiar and favorable toward both candidates. pic.twitter.com/VER8LVepvw
— Echelon Insights (@EchelonInsights) January 27, 2022
DeSantis, who has reportedly told top Republican donors that “no one’s nomination is inevitable,” appears to believe that he has “overtaken Trump with the party’s major donors, according to an ally in touch with the governor,” the Post added. “A former aide said DeSantis has spoken about wanting to expand his dominance in that realm, including by getting a contribution from Peter Thiel, the billionaire investor who backed Trump in 2016 and has put nearly $30 million behind a pair of Republican Senate candidates this year.”
Darren Blanton, a Dallas-based venture capitalist who served as an adviser to Trump’s transition, told the newspaper that DeSantis was the only candidate that could take on Trump and win.
“I think DeSantis is the only one besides Trump who has a chance in hell. And I would bet a lot of money on that,” Blanton said. “At first I thought DeSantis had no chance because he seemed more like an introvert and strategist, but not a charismatic celebrity, and I pretty much told him that to his face. But he has really impressed me by how much better he has gotten.”
A new report from The New York Times that highlighted Democrats’ angst about Democrat President Joe Biden running again included quotes from top Democrats that showed that they feared DeSantis.
Faiz Shakir, who was campaign manager for Bernie Sanders in 2020, said that if the Republican Party nominee were Trump that it would still be possible for Biden to win but that “if it’s DeSantis,” then “I think that would be a different kind of a challenge.”
Alex Wyshyvanuk, a Democrat data analyst, said that Democrats “need an equivalent of Ron DeSantis … but not a 70- or 80-year-old — a younger person.”