Some top Republican lawmakers who have signaled opposition to former President Donald Trump's 2024 presidential bid have expressed worry that the former commander-in-chief will prevail with a crowded GOP primary field.
This week, former Vice President Mike Pence filed paperwork for a 2024 presidential bid, coming on the heels of announcements made by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.). Other candidates include former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
Reports indicate that former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum are aiming to run.
“A number of these people are in low single digits, so my hope would be that, if after a few months their numbers don’t get better, that they decide to drop out so that it becomes a two- or three-person race. I think that would be the best development, as far as I’m concerned,” Cornyn told the outlet.
An ally of Cornyn, Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.C.), who endorsed Scott, made similar admissions about the race.
“That’s always a possibility when you have one candidate that has a loyal following that starts with a bigger base,” Thune said, adding that he believes DeSantis hasn't done well enough to be a clear alternative to Trump.
“I think the fact that that many people are getting in suggests that they sense an opening. I think there’s a sense out there that people are looking for a new direction and a lot of these candidates are responding to it,” the Republican senator said.
Pence EntersAfter months of speculation, Pence filed paperwork on Monday declaring his campaign for president in 2024, setting up a challenge to his former boss. It comes just two years after Trump criticized Pence after he presided over the Joint Session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021.
Pence, a former radio host who ultimately became Indiana's governor, made his candidacy official Monday with the Federal Election Commission. While Trump is currently leading the early fight for the nomination, with DeSantis polling consistently in second, Pence supporters see a lane for a reliable conservative who espouses many of the previous administration’s policies but without the constant tumult.
Notably, Pence supports a national ban on abortion procedures and has campaigned against transgender policies in schools. He has argued that changes to Social Security and Medicare, like raising the age for qualification, should be on the table to keep the programs solvent, which Trump has strongly opposed.
Pence also has said the United States should offer more support to Ukraine against Russian aggression, while claiming there are “Putin apologists” in the GOP unwilling to stand up to the Russian leader. Trump, meanwhile, has often said that he would end the Russia–Ukraine war in 24 hours and claimed that the death toll is far greater than is being reported.
“I think we’ll have better choices,” Pence recently told The Associated Press. “The American people want us to return to the policies of the Trump–Pence administration, but I think they want to see leadership that reflects more of the character of the American people.”
Debates?While Trump has publicly signaled that he doesn't want to partake in the Republican National Committee's debates, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel revealed that the first one will be held Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Aug. 23, 2023.
“The RNC is committed to putting on a fair, neutral, and transparent primary process, and the qualifying criteria set forth will put our party and eventual nominee in the best position to take back the White House come November 2024," McDaniel said.