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With less than two years remaining until US voters will decide who will serve as president of the United States from January 2025 to January 2029, former Republican government officials are starting to jockey for position in the coming fight for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, while at least one prominent Democrat (California governor Gavin Newsom) has reportedly pledged not to challenge President Joe Biden in a Democratic primary.
As the 2024 campaign takes shape, here are the names you need to know:
Mr Biden is the current president of the United States and has said on multiple occasions that he intends to run for reelection in 2024.
The only US president in recent memory to forgo a run for a second term was the 37th occupant of that office, President Lyndon Johnson. Johnson declined to seek a second term amid upheaval over the Vietnam War despite having won a massive landslide over Republican Barry Goldwater in 1964, just one year after the Texas native assumed the presidency after President John F Kennedy was murdered by an assassin.
Although Mr Biden has never suggested that he would follow Johnson’s example, his status as the oldest person to ever serve as president and his lacklustre approval ratings have fuelled speculation that he might stand down so a younger candidate could take up the Democratic Party mantle. But the Democrats’ better-than-expected results in the 2022 midterms appear to have put new wind in Mr Biden’s sails, and he has said he expects to have made a final decision on seeking a second term after consultations with his family over the holidays.
Of the more than 12 people who the Federal Election Commission lists as declared candidates for 2024, the only one whose name is well-known to the public is also the first former Trump administration figure to throw a hat into the ring, former president Donald J Trump.
Mr Trump, the only US president to face two separate impeachment trials – one after fomenting a violent attack on the US Capitol in hopes of remaining in power despite losing the 2020 election to Joe Biden – officially filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to declare himself a candidate in the 2024 election on 15 November, just minutes before he announced his candidacy at the same Palm Beach, Florida location where FBI agents had conducted a search for stolen classified documents just three months earlier.
Now based in Florida, the ex-real estate developer turned television presenter turned politician is hoping he can become the first ex-US chief executive to reclaim the White House since Grover Cleveland accomplished that feat more than a century ago. But he faces a series of obstacles on what was once assumed to be a smooth glide path to the GOP nomination, including several of his former top aides and at least one governor he once endorsed.
When recently cancelled ex-fashion mogul and noted antisemite Kanye West (or Ye, as he prefers to be called these days) showed up with a notorious white nationalist for dinner at Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club, it appeared to be the first time the two men had met since Mr West appeared alongside the then-president during a bizarre Oval Office meeting in late 2018.
At the time, Mr Trump said the rapper “very well could be” a future presidential candidate, and two years later that prediction came true when Mr West launched an independent bid for the presidency that was widely perceived as a cynical Maga-backed ploy meant to split Black voters from the Democratic Party and deliver key swing states to Mr Trump.
In the years since his first quixotic foray into presidential politics, Mr West has ended his marriage to reality TV star Kim Kardashian, lost billions of dollars from his net worth after Adidas ended its relationship with him after he appeared at Fashion Week in Paris wearing a “White Lives Matter” shirt and later made a series of antisemitic statements on social media, and announced plans to purchase Parler, the far-right Twitter clone which was widely used by participants in the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
But Mr West’s interest in running for the highest office in the land does not appear to have faded. Although he has not yet filed a statement of candidacy for 2024, he has announced his intention to run for president in the next general election, and according to videos he posted to social media, he angered Mr Trump by asking him to accept the number-two spot on a ticket with him.
Once Mr Trump’s most loyal defender and steadfast right-hand man, former vice president Mike Pence’s relationship with the man who led the GOP ticket in 2020 was irrevocably upended by his decision not to unlawfully hijack Congress’ certification of Electoral College votes in an attempt to keep himself and Mr Trump in power against the wishes of American voters.
Mr Pence has not officially declared his intent to run for president against Mr Trump in 2024, but since leaving office he has kept up a steady stream of appearances in key primary states (hello, New Hampshire!) and campaigned for numerous GOP candidates in the midterm elections earlier this month. He also appeared at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual convention in Las Vegas, a traditional cattle call for potential GOP presidential contenders.
(Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
While the former vice president has taken pains not to criticise Mr Trump in the way some anti-Trump Republicans have in recent months, he has also made clear that he would not do things the way the ex-president did during their four years in office.
Mr Pence has also begun to build out the beginnings of a 2024 campaign operation by bringing on former Ben Sasse spokesperson Ali Kjergaard to his Advancing American Freedom nonprofit. Ms Kjergaard joins other former Pence White House mainstays, including his former chief of staff, Marc Short, and his former press secretary, Devin O’Malley.
Another ex-Trump administration official who is widely reported to be considering a 2024 bid is Mr Trump’s former CIA Director turned Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.
The ex-Kansas congressman recently appeared at the RJC convention and has kept his face in the public consciousness through a steady stream of appearances on Fox News, where he is a paid contributor. Like Mr Pence, he has also kept up a schedule of public appearances that has included trips to early primary states.
The current governor of Florida is thought by many in the GOP to be the perfect successor to Mr Trump.
(Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Mr DeSantis, a former Florida congressman who won his 2018 gubernatorial campaign after receiving a coveted endorsement from the then-president, is viewed by Republican pundits as a worthy avatar of the current “anti-woke” GOP who is hated by all the right people, and his star has been on the rise in conservative circles since he made a show of ending any and all pandemic-related restrictions and mandates in the Sunshine State.
When Mr DeSantis took the stage at his 2022 election victory party, supporters even chanted “two more years” in a nod to his potential status as a GOP presidential contender. And Florida legislators are reportedly considering changing state law to make it easier for him to seek his party’s nomination while running for governor.
Earlier this month, Mr Trump debuted a derogatory nickname — “Ron DeSanctimonious” — for his onetime ally, a sure sign that the Florida native is considered to be a serious adversary by the New York transplant.