From Trump to DeSantis: Republican runners and riders for the 2024 US presidential election

Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley
Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley
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Despite his mounting legal woes Donald Trump remains the clear frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

The former president, 77, is hammering all other candidates, with support from over half of the GOP electorate, according to the latest polling.

However, with just over a year to go until the election, there remains a crowded field of Republican candidates who have thrown their hat in the ring for the top job.

Here, The Telegraph takes a closer look at the candidates who have announced their bids.

When did he declare? Donald Trump declared his run in November 2022 during a speech at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

“In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” Mr Trump told a crowd of his cheering supporters. “Two years ago, we were a great nation, and soon, we will be a great nation again.”

He added: “This is not just a campaign... This is a quest to save our country.”

Where is he polling? Mr Trump remains fair ahead of all other candidates in the polls at 52.3 per cent.

Has he started campaigning? Mr Trump has kicked off his 2024 campaign with appearances in the critical early voting states of New Hampshire and South Carolina.

What are his flagship policies? Framing himself as a Washington outsider once again, Mr Trump is vowing to take on the “corrupt political establishment” by backing proposed rules on members of Congress. “Only a non-politician would do that,” he quipped at one campaign event.

Following the 2020 election and his baseless claims of voter fraud, the former president is vowing to implement tough voting restrictions if he comes to power. Illegal immigration, identity culture wars and social media censorship also remain front and centre of his political agenda.

He has vowed to end birthright citizenship for children of illegal immigrants on his first day in office if elected and said he will push to institute the death penalty for human traffickers carrying people across the border.

The four charges Donald Trump faces in the Jan 6 indictment
The four charges Donald Trump faces in the Jan 6 indictment

What about the indictments? Mr Trump’s mounting legal woes do not appear to have worried prospective voters as he leads competitors by a sizeable margin in the polls. He has been indicted three times and faces dozens of criminal charges.

Even if he is convicted and sentenced, the Republic frontrunner has pledged to continue his presidential campaign and take office.

Still, there are problems ahead. Mr Trump has said he will have to cut down on his campaign appearances and rallies because he is channelling funds towards his legal battles.

When did he declare? Florida governor Ron DeSantis launched his campaign in May during a Twitter event hosted by Elon Musk, which was marred by technical glitches.

Where is he polling? The self–proclaimed “anti-woke” governor is Mr Trump’s chief rival, although he lags behind the former president significantly in the polls at 15.6 per cent.

Has he started campaigning? Mr DeSantis’s campaign team say they raised $1 million (£810,000) in the first hour after announcing his candidacy. However, he was forced to cut a third of his staff in July as his campaign burned through funds.

What are his flagship policies? Mr DeSantis gained popularity during the pandemic thanks to his anti-lockdown stance and his refusal to shy away from America’s culture wars.

He has an impressive record - a star baseball player at Yale, as well as a graduate of Harvard Law School and a former Navy officer - but it is his anti-establishment approach that has won him a following among the GOP base.

Mr DeSantis has made his anti-abortion and anti-gun control stances clear during his time in power. In Florida he signed into law a controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill which bans ‘sexual orientation and gender identity’ issues from classrooms.

Some fear that he lacks the charisma and star power of Mr Trump. Nevertheless, supporters believe he offers a path to victory for Republicans after his landslide re-election in Florida, a critical presidential swing state, in November.

What about Trump? The governor has been careful to not make personal attacks against Mr Trump given his large support among voters and within the GOP.

However, in recent months he appears to have sharpened his rhetoric against the former president, having finally rejected his claims of election rigging in the 2020 election. He maintains a critical stance against state prosecutors for indicting Mr Trump.

When did he declare? Mike Pence, the former US vice president, launched his campaign for the Republican nomination in June.

Where is he polling? Mr Pence is currently polling in fourth place at around the five per cent mark.

What are his flagship policies? He represents a more traditionally conservative faction of the GOP, in contrast to the campaigns of Mr Trump and Mr DeSantis.

The former vice president served for more than a decade in Congress and as Indiana’s governor before he was tapped as Trump’s running mate in 2016.

Policies he is likely to champion will include free trade - what Mr Pence will call “free trade with free nations” - and a national abortion ban.

He has also said the US should offer more support to Ukraine against Russian aggression, while admonishing “Putin apologists” in the GOP.

What about Trump? Some blame Mr Pence for refuting Mr Trump’s request to overturn the 2020 election result on Jan 6. In reality, as vice president Mr Pence did not have the power to change the results.

The relationship between Mr Trump and Mr Pence has remained fractured since the riots on Jan 6, with recent reports suggesting he may testify against his former running mate in court in a federal indictment.

Has he started campaigning? Mr Pence describes himself as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order” and his campaign team sees Iowa and its evangelical Christian voters as critical to his potential path to victory.

He has so far held events in the early voting state, South Carolina and New Hampshire, visiting churches, delivering policy speeches and courting donors.

Advisers say he plans to campaign aggressively in Iowa, hitting every one of its 99 counties before its first-in-the-nation caucuses next year.

When did she declare? Nikki Haley became the first major candidate to formally challenge Mr Trump for the Republican nomination in February, despite previously ruling it out.

Where is she polling? Ms Haley, a former UN ambassador and governor of South Carolina is stalling in the polls at 4.1 per cent. She is also trailing Mr Trump and Mr DeSantis in her home state of South Carolina.

What are her flagship policies? Ms Haley has been vocal about her pledge to crack down on the “Chinese infiltration at our universities”.

She served as a respected member of Mr Trump’s cabinet, known for her defence of his America First policy on the world stage.

However, there is a perception that Ms Haley is failing to cut through as she attempts to occupy a space between the moderate and right wing of her party.

Has she started campaigning? Her campaign has held a number of events in the key early states of Iowa and Key Hampshire.

What about Trump? In recent years Ms Haley has been fickle in her support for Mr Trump, most recently calling for a new generation of leadership.

She told Fox News: “So do I think I could be that leader? Yes, but we are still working through things and we’ll figure it out.”

She added: “I’ve never lost a race. I said that then. I still say that now. I’m not going to lose now.”

When did he declare? Vivek Ramaswamy, a health tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist, was the third major candidate to enter the race for the Republican nomination in February.

Where is he polling? He is currently polling third behind Mr Trump and Mr DeSantis in the race at 7.2 per cent.

What are his flagship policies?  Mr Ramaswamy, 37, said he was launching “not only a political campaign but a cultural movement” that would provide a conservative response to America’s culture wars.

Mr Ramaswamy acknowledged his campaign was a long-shot in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, but said idea-driven outsiders could invigorate the country’s political discourse and “create a new American Dream”.

The son of Indian immigrants, he invoked his parents’ story when calling for a crackdown on illegal immigration and “eliminating lottery-based immigration in favour of meritocratic admission.”

He is a businessman and author of the book Woke Inc - which claimed the “woke-industrial complex” was the “defining scam of our century”.

He has previously featured on Forbes’ list of richest entrepreneurs under 40, with a reported net worth of $500 million (£392m).

What about Trump? He has insisted he will pardon Mr Trump over the dozens of charges he faces. He told CNN: “The standard I use as our next president is what moves our country forward.

“What is the right thing for the United States of America? Absolutely the right answer is to move on and I would pardon him.”

When did he declare? Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie declared in June.

Where is he polling? Current polling shows only 2.1 per cent of Republicans see him as their preferred nominee in 2024.

What are his flagship policies? Mr Christie has long remained vocal in his belief in the need for social security means testing.

The 60-year-old, who ran for president in 2016, crashed out in the early stages of the primary but was seen to have wrecked Florida senator Marco Rubio’s chances as he mocked him as a robotic, Washington politician.

This time around, he has turned his ire on Mr Trump despite once being a member of his inner circle, firing an onslaught of criticism his way over his indictment cases.

What about Trump? He is arguably the most vocal critic of Mr Trump to have joined the race for the Republican nomination.

Mr Christie was once an ally of Mr Trump but has previously called him a “coward”, “Putin’s puppet”, and a “lonely, self-consumed, self-serving mirror hog”.

He had been a close off-and-on adviser of Mr Trump before breaking with the former president over his refusal to accept the results of the 2020 election.

He recently said in a podcast interview: “I’m not dumb. The way to win is to beat the guy who’s ahead. And so what would a campaign look like? A campaign would look like a direct frontal challenge to Donald Trump trying to return to the presidency.”

When did he declare? Asa Hutchinson, a former governor of the southern US state of Arkansas, announced his candidacy in April, saying that Donald Trump should quit the race to deal with his legal challenges.

Where is he polling? He has struggled to cut through the noise, with average polling showing he is some way below the one per cent mark.

What are his flagship policies? Making his own case, Mr Hutchinson vowed to focus on issues including border security, the economy and US leadership.

“I want to provide an alternative”, the 72-year-old conservative, who is also a former member of Congress, said as he announced his bid.

“For the sake of the office of the presidency, I do think that’s too much of a sideshow and distraction, and he needs to be able to concentrate on his due process,” Mr Hutchinson said.

“I’ve always said that people don’t have to step aside from public office if they’re under investigation, but if it reaches the point of criminal charges that have to be answered, the office is always more important than a person.”

Mr Hutchinson was Arkansas governor from 2015 to 2023. In 2021, he signed a law outlawing abortion in every case except to save the life of the mother.

What about Trump? After Trump’s latest indictment, he doubled down on criticism: “Trump has lost it. This threatens our democracy, our rule of law and says clearly that he will weaponize the Justice Department if he is elected.  America needs leadership with a spirit of grace.”

However, there is little sign that an anti-Trump stance is paying off. At Conservative Turning Point Action conference last month, Mr Hutchinson was booed by a crowd chanting “Trump, Trump, Trump.”

When did he declare? Tim Scott, a senator for South Carolina, declared America is “not the land of oppression” as he launched his 2024 bid in May, praising the country’s strides on racism.

Where is he polling? National polling puts him at around 3.4 per cent, but he is running a close third to Ron DeSantis in the key early states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

What are his flagship policies? The senator, 57, has invoked his Christian faith and championed religious liberties, tough action on border security and fiscal responsibility, which are all hot topics for the conservative base.

Launching his bid, he told the crowd in his hometown of North Charleston, South Carolina: “My family went from cotton to Congress” in one lifetime.

Mr Scott is from a poverty-stricken childhood in South Carolina and is currently the only black Republican in the US Senate.

Mr Scott’s supporters say he is the strongest candidate to unite the pro-Trump and Trump-weary factions of his party.

Has he started campaigning? The senator has a strong campaign infrastructure in several key states after laying the groundwork for his bid with a listening tour earlier this year.

He is one of the Republican Party’s top fundraisers, and comfortably won re-election to the Senate last November with more than $20 million left over in his war chest.

In September, his candidacy is planning a $40 million ad campaign that will run in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and potentially Nevada.

What about Trump? He has a strong conservative record, but has been willing to criticise the former president on occasion.

When did he declare? Doug Burgum, the Republican governor of North Dakota, is the latest candidate to enter the 2024 presidential race.

Where is he polling? As one of the outlier candidates, Mr Burgum is polling at 0.3 per cent.

What are his flagship policies? The chimney sweep-turned-software billionaire launched an unlikely bid, declaring that in his state, “woke” is “what you did at 5am to start the day”.

Mr Burgum, 66, is painting himself as the candidate of “small-town America” and its values. However he conceded that decisions made in North Dakota would not necessarily work elsewhere.

In June he said that while he backed a strict abortion ban in his own state, he would not support a similar, nationwide law if he is elected to the White House.

Has he started campaigning? Launching his campaign in Fargo, near his home city of Arthur, Mr Burgum said the next US president should be “someone who’s held jobs where you shower at the end of the day, not at the beginning”.

Of $11.7 million raised by campaign leading up to end of quarter on 30 June, more than $10 million was provided by loan from Mr Burgum himself.

It is thought he will struggle to qualify for the first primary TV debates this month.

What about Trump? He has largely steered clear of confronting Mr Trump, but acknowledged that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election.

Mr Burgum was elected governor in 2016 and re-elected in a landslide in 2020. He is not widely known outside North Dakota, and with polling at 0.3 per cent is considered a long shot.

When did he declare? Miami Mayor Francis Suarez joined the crowded race just a day after Mr Trump appeared in court on federal charges in June.

Where is he polling? Mr Suarez is tied for the lowest polling rate in the race at around 0.1 per cent.

What are his flagship policies? The 45-year-old is the president of the US Conference of Mayors and is the son of Miami’s first Cuban-born mayor.

Mr Suarez has gained national attention in recent years for his efforts to turn Miami into an economic powerhouse the next Silicon Valley.

Mr Suarez, who is married with two young children, is a corporate and real estate attorney who previously served as a city of Miami commissioner. He has positioned himself as someone who can help the GOP connect with the Hispanic community.

He is more moderate than Mr DeSantis and Mr Trump, but has threaded the needle carefully on cultural issues that have become popular among Republicans.

Has he started campaigning? Dubbed the “crypto candidate”, Mr Suarez is accepting campaign donations for his 2024 bid in cryptocurrency, already taking his salary in Bitcoin.

What about Trump? Trump advisers have praised Mr Suarez’s work and helped him promote what he calls “the Miami success story”.

Kellyanne Conway, Mr Trump’s former White House counselor, even floated Mr Suarez’s name as a possible vice presidential pick.

When did he declare? Will Hurd, a former CIA spy and former Texas congressman, declared his run in June.

Where is he polling? He is tied with Mr Suarez in the polls at around 0.1 per cent.

What are his flagship policies? Mr Hurd, 45, signposted his concerns on illegal immigration and inflation in his campaign announcement video.

He has called himself a “dark horse candidate” and said that the only way to win is to “not be afraid of Donald Trump”. He is hoping to build momentum as a more moderate alternative to the former president.

The one-time CIA agent called the Republican frontrunner a “failed politician” who lost the GOP “the House, the Senate, and the White House.”

He has attacked the GOP’s struggle to attract college educated middle class women, Black and brown communities and people under the age of 35.

Has he started campaigning? Mr Hurd has made a number of media appearances on CNN, CBS and Fox News.

What about Turmp? He is a vocal critic of the former president’s track record, calling him a “proven loser”.

He was booed at the Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, after criticisng the former president. Mr Hurd said another contest between Mr Trump and Mr Biden would be “the rematch from hell”.

When did he declare? Larry Elder declared he was running for president in April.

Where is he polling? Elder has yet to make any significant dent in nationwide polls.

What are his flagship policies? Explaining his decision to run on Fox News, Mr Elder said he wanted to “give back” after deciding not to serve in the military like his father and brother.

“I’m the only one who didn’t serve, and I don’t feel good about that. I feel I have a moral, religious and patriotic duty to give back to a country that’s been so good to me and my family,” he said.

His platform includes capping spending at 10 per cent of US gross domestic product nationwide, regulating abortion laws at the state level and other conservative positions.

A Los Angeles Republican, he has never held elected office and calls himself “the sage from South Central”. He earned a living as a lawyer before becoming a talk show host, and received a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015.

His campaign website reads: “America is in decline, but this decline is not inevitable. We can enter a new American Golden Age, but we must choose a leader who can bring us there”.

What about Trump? Mr Elder has in the past been a supporter of Mr Trump but has since said he is “not sure” Mr Trump is electable, especially to suburban women.

When did he declare? Perry Johnson, a Republican businessman, announced his bid in March.

Where is he polling? Johnson is also yet to make any significant dent in nationwide polls.

What are his flagship policies? The millionaire has been touting his plan to cut federal spending by two per cent every year during his campaign.

He ran for Michigan governor in 2022 and was considered a top candidate before he and four other Republican hopefuls were disqualified because of invalid signatures.

Has he started campaigning? Mr Johnson has been targeting Iowa voters with ads, notably running a TV advert during the Super Bowl earlier this year.

What about Trump? Mr Johnson states on his website that he “proudly supported President Trump in 2016 and 2020 and could very easily support him in 2024.”

However he also states he believes that “politicians of both political parties have failed to provide adequate solutions” to inflation.

This article is kept up to date with the latest information. Polling taken from FiveThirtyEight.