WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Ten Republican candidates are seeking their party’s nomination to take on Democratic U.S. President Joe Biden in the November 2024 election.
Here is a list of the leading candidates.
Donald Trump, 77, has embraced his indictments in four separate criminal cases – unprecedented for a former U.S. president – which have boosted his popularity among Republicans and helped to make him far and away the front-runner in his party’s race for the presidential nomination.
Trump has called the indictments part of a politically motivated witch hunt to thwart his pursuit of a second four-year term, an assertion that the Justice Department has denied. In a sign of his extraordinary hold on his party, just two rivals at the first Republican presidential debate said they would not support him as the nominee if he were convicted.
Trump has vowed to enact tougher immigration restrictions and harsher curbs on trade with China, and to carry out political reprisals against those he perceives have wronged him. Trump has a firm grip on his party’s right wing but may struggle to get moderates and independents to support him in a general election should he win the Republican nomination.
After a glitch-filled campaign launch in May on Twitter, now called X, DeSantis has positioned himself to the right of Trump on a number of key social issues such as abortion. But his well-funded campaign has struggled to gain traction, and his top donor has said he won’t give the Florida governor more money unless he adopts a more moderate approach.
DeSantis, 44, is Trump’s top rival, but remains some 40 percentage points behind the former president in opinion polls. He has fired staff and rebooted his campaign several times since May, but those steps have done little to boost his candidacy. DeSantis’ campaign says it is focused on stopping Trump in Iowa, where the party will hold its first nominating contest in January.
Trump’s vice president has broken with his former boss over Trump supporters’ Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol as Pence was inside presiding over Congress’ certification of Biden’s 2020 victory. Pence, 64, says, “history will hold Trump accountable” for his role in the attack.
A staunch conservative, the former Indiana governor is appealing directly to the evangelical Christian community, but his campaign has struggled to raise money and he is stuck in the low single digits in opinion polls.
A former biotechnology investor and executive, Ramaswamy, 38, started a firm in 2022 to pressure companies to abandon environmental, social and corporate governance initiatives. The political outsider has stoked grassroots chatter as a potential alternative to Trump. He is a fervent supporter of the former president and says he would pardon Trump should he win the White House.
A former governor of South Carolina and Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, Haley, 51, has emphasized her relative youth compared to Biden and Trump as well as her background as the daughter of Indian immigrants.
Haley has gained a reputation in the Republican Party as a solid conservative who has the ability to address issues of gender and race in a more credible fashion than many of her peers. She has also pitched herself as a stalwart defender of American interests abroad. She has low single-digit support among Republicans, according to opinion polls.
The only Black Republican U.S. senator has low name recognition outside his home state of South Carolina, but his optimism and focus on unifying his divided party have helped him draw a contrast with a more aggressive approach from Trump and DeSantis. Scott supporters, however, acknowledge that while his sunny demeanor is a selling point, it may not be enough to win. Scott, 57, attracted 1% support among Republicans, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling.
The former Arkansas governor launched his bid for the White House in April with a call for Trump to step aside to deal with his first indictment. Hutchinson, 72, has touted his experience leading the deeply conservative state as proof he can deliver on policies Republican voters care about, citing tax cuts and job creation initiatives.
Still, his name recognition remains limited outside Arkansas and he earned no support among Republicans polled by Reuters/Ipsos.
Christie, 61, advised Trump’s White House campaign, but became a vocal critic of the former president after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack. The former New Jersey governor and federal prosecutor has stepped up his verbal attacks as Trump faces a growing number of criminal charges.
Christie has received about 1% support among Republicans in Reuters/Ipsos polls.
Burgum, 67, is serving his second term as North Dakota’s governor after selling his software business to Microsoft Corp in 2001. A proponent of low taxes and fewer regulations, he has sought to portray himself as a traditional conservative with a focus on the economy and national security. One of the least-known contenders, he gets close to zero support in polls.
A former U.S. congressman, Hurd is a sharp Trump critic and moderate Republican who represented a southern Texas border district until he chose not to seek reelection in 2020. The 46-year-old is the second Black candidate in the Republican race, after Scott.
(Writing by Susan Heavey)
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