Republican presidential field is largely set

New York: After a trio of new announcements this week, the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential field is all but set. As of now there are at least 10 high-profile Republican candidates officially seeking their party’s nomination. And with the announcement phase of the primary campaign largely over, several leading Republican contenders will gather in North Carolina this weekend to begin a more aggressive sorting period.

It will be a long road to the GOP’s national convention in Milwaukee next summer when Republican delegates across the country gather to finalize their nominee to run against President Joe Biden.

Surprises are guaranteed. Fortunes will change. But as of now, every Republican White House hopeful is looking up at former President Donald Trump, who is the undisputed frontrunner in the crowded contest.

Trump launched his campaign nearly seven months ago in an effort to scare off potential challengers. It didn’t work.  As of now, the former president is running in a field that features no fewer than nine high-profile challengers. They include Mike Pence, a former vice president; four current or former governors: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson; Nikki Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations and also a former South Carolina governor; U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina; biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy; and conservative talk show host Larry Elder, an unsuccessful candidate for California governor.

Several Republicans who had taken steps to prepare for a run in 2024 ultimately bowed out. They include former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton. Meanwhile, a handful of higher-profile Republicans are still considering a run, including former Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

The former president is dominating early primary polls, despite his extraordinary legal troubles. Trump nonetheless maintains a strong grip on a significant portion of the Republican base that has yet to fall in love with an alternative. DeSantis, the Florida governor is trying to out-Trump Trump by taking a harder line on immigration, abortion and other policies that tear at the nation’s divides, while embracing the former president’s combative style and mannerisms.

Math aside, Trump’s Republican rivals have yet to figure out a consistent strategy to take him down.

Image courtesy of CNN

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