Republicans itch to take on Trump: Here’s who’s in the mix so far
Feb. 3, 2023 Updated Sat., Feb. 4, 2023 at 9:10 p.m.
The field for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination is expanding.
Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley is expected to announce her campaign in mid-February, and more contenders will likely follow. Although Donald Trump was the first to kick off the race by announcing his run just after last year’s midterm elections, he’s not dissuading ambitious Republicans.
Here’s the slate as it stands now.
Is he running? Yes. Trump announced his third bid for the White House in November, and he remains the front-runner in many polls.
Can he raise the campaign cash? In the last two years, Trump raised $181 million, but his fundraising has fallen off. He’s collected less than $10 million since he announced his candidacy. But Trump has an allied super-PAC sitting on $54 million and plenty of time to fire up his enormous base of small-dollar donors.
Is she running? Soon. After dropping hints on social media for weeks, Haley is set to launch her campaign on Feb. 15, according to a person familiar with her plans.
What are her qualifications? A former state lawmaker, Haley was elected twice as governor of South Carolina before becoming U.S. ambassador to the U.N. under Trump.
What’s her relationship with Trump? Although she left the administration on good terms, Haley has since gone back and forth from criticizing Trump to softening her tone.
Can she raise the campaign cash? She’s got some deep-pocketed supporters but will need to find more. Home Depot Inc. co-founders Kenneth Langone and Bernard Marcus, hedge fund managers Paul Singer and Cliff Asness and GOP megadonor Miriam Adelson have written six-figure checks to Haley’s think tank and $5,000 checks to her leadership PAC, which raised $17.5 million for the midterms.
Is he running? Likely. DeSantis, the governor of Florida, has courted national attention since his landslide re-election in November, and party elites have coalesced around him as the top Trump challenger.
What are his qualifications? A former member of the U.S. House, DeSantis is now in his second term as governor of the nation’s third-largest state by population.
What’s his relationship with Trump? DeSantis ran a campaign ad featuring him reading “The Art of the Deal” to his kids, but things have soured since a 2024 bid has come to seem likely.
Can he raise the campaign cash? For his re-election, DeSantis raised $183 million, a record for a gubernatorial campaign. DeSantis relied heavily on hundreds of donors who gave $50,000 or more. Among their ranks were billionaires like Ken Griffin, Paul Tudor Jones and Thomas Peterffy.
Is he running? Likely. Pence has said he’s “prayerfully considering” a presidential run, but his book tour and speaking engagements are tips that he’s leaning toward a yes.
What are his qualifications? A former member of the U.S. House, Pence served a single term as governor of Indiana before becoming Trump’s vice president.
What’s his relationship with Trump? Pence largely defended Trump in his recent memoir but broke with him over “reckless words” that put his life in danger regarding the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Can he raise the campaign cash? Pence raised $19.4 million when running for governor. While vice president, he took the unprecedented step of forming his own leadership political action committee and raked in the maximum donations from big donors like Harold Hamm, chair of Continental Resources Inc. and Hank Paulson, the former Treasury secretary and Goldman Sachs alum.
Is he running? Not yet. Pompeo has said he’ll decide in the next couple of months, but his book tour for a recently published memoir and speaking engagements are a classic tell.
What are his qualifications? A former member of the House, Pompeo burnished the foreign policy section of his resume as CIA director and secretary of State under Trump.
What’s his relationship with Trump? Unlike some other officials who served under Trump, Pompeo had little bad to say about him in his memoir.
Can he raise the campaign cash? His super-PAC raised $8 million over the last two years, but its biggest single donor was his old congressional campaign committee. Pompeo has never run for anything larger than his Kansas House seat, and he raised more money from Wichita, $3.4 million, than he did in New York, $18,900.
Is he running? Maybe. Scott, a senator from South Carolina, has hinted that he might run for president one day, saying after his recent re-election that it would be his last term in the Senate.
What are his qualifications? A former city councilman, state lawmaker and U.S. House member, Scott was appointed to the Senate by Haley and has won re-election twice.
What’s his relationship with Trump? In an interview on Fox News, Scott wouldn’t rule out serving as Trump’s running mate, saying that “everybody wants to be on President Trump’s bandwagon.”
Can he raise the campaign cash? For the uncompetitive 2022 Senate race, Scott raised a whopping $43 million and had $22 million left over, which he can tap for a presidential run. Some 84% of the money came from out-of-state donors, according to OpenSecrets, and among his top 10 sources of campaign cash were employees of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Blackstone Group and JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Is he running? Maybe. Youngkin hasn’t ruled out a run, and his barnstorming for candidates in other states last year showed he’s interested.
What are his qualifications? The former co-chief executive officer of the Carlyle Group private equity firm had no political experience before being elected governor of Virginia in 2021.
What’s his relationship with Trump? Youngkin has walked a careful line, most recently refusing to respond to a social media post in which Trump manipulated his name to sound Chinese.
Can he raise the campaign cash? Since starting his gubernatorial campaign, he’s raised almost $91 million according to the Virginia Public Access Project, including $20 million from his own deep pockets.
Is he running? Maybe. Sununu said in January that he was considering a run, arguing that no one in the party was reaching the “next generation of potential Republican voters.”
What are his qualifications? The son of a governor and brother of a senator, Sununu was elected to a fourth two-year term as governor of New Hampshire in November.
What’s his relationship with Trump? Sununu set up a joke at the 2022 Gridiron Dinner by saying Trump shows “passion” on Twitter. “Nah, I’m just kidding,” he then said. “He’s … crazy.”
Can he raise the campaign cash? For his 2022 reelection, Sununu raised $1.7 million from 1,489 donors, according to his campaign’s most recent disclosure.
Is he running? Maybe. He said in December that he is “absolutely” considering a run and would make a decision in the “first part” of this year.
What are his qualifications? A former federal prosecutor, Hutchinson served in the House and the Bush administration before his two terms as governor of Arkansas.
What is his relationship with Trump? He said that having Trump as the 2024 nominee would be the “worst scenario,” though he hasn’t ruled out supporting him if he comes out first in the primaries.
Can he raise the campaign cash? He hasn’t run for office since 2018, when he raised $7.2 million, with 92% of that amount coming from within Arkansas. Though the state has some big GOP contributors, including investment banker Warren Stephens, the former governor would have to broaden his donor base.
Is she running? Maybe. Noem, the governor of South Dakota, has long been floated as a contender, although she said in January that she’s “not convinced” that she needs to run.
What are her qualifications? A former state lawmaker and member of the House, Noem is in her second term as governor.
What is her relationship with Trump? She once gave Trump a replica of Mount Rushmore that had him alongside Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.
Can she raise the campaign cash? She raised $15.1 million for her 2022 campaign, including $2.9 million from donors who gave $100 or less, and spent seven times as much on media as her opponent, according to AdImpact. Some big donors include aerospace pioneer and UFO buff Robert Bigelow and Texas real estate developer Henry Ross Perot Jr.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.