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US election 2024: who are the likely Republican candidates to run for president against Joe Biden?

The 2020 presidential race has only just finished, but the Republican candidates for 2024 are already preparing themselves for their shot at the White House.

We take a look at who may be looking to get themselves in to the race.

Mike Pence

Mike Pence is the former vice-president of the United States, and has been one of Donald Trump’s staunchest allies since he was confirmed as the Republican nominee for President in 2016.

The former Indiana governor, 61, is a popular figure in the Republican party and well known among the party’s base.

Vice President Mike Pence retains support among both Trump loyalists and traditional conservatives

He is currently considered to be one of the likeliest candidates in the Republican party to run in 2024, with his ability to draw support from both the Trump base and more traditional conservatives.

While in office he pushed for a reduction in government spending, gaining a reputation as a fiscal conservative. When the pandemic began, the president chose Mr Pence to head the White House coronavirus task force, chairing daily meetings with medical experts and briefing Mr Trump.

He endorsed Ted Cruz in the 2016 Republican primaries, and was praised by Paul Ryan, the former Speaker of the House, who described him a “personal friend” and a “movement conservative”.

Mr Pence is also an Evangelical Christian, and was an early supporter of the Tea Party movement.

Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley is the former governor of South Carolina, who served as Donald Trump’s ambassador to the UN from 2017-2018.

The 48-year-old was the youngest ever governor of the state and also the first person of Indian descent to serve in a President’s cabinet.

Rumours of a 2024 presidential run have picked up steam after she announced the formation of a Political Action Committee (PAC) on January 13 called Stand for America. A PAC is a tax-exempt organisation through which individuals can fundraise.

An woman wearing a 'Nikki Haley 2024' t-shirt waits to get a book signed by Nikki Haley, former ambassador to the United Nations

More of a traditional conservative than a Trumpist, Ms Haley is known for her staunch defence of Israel and hawkish stance on Iran. She was a prominent figure in moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a move that provoked outrage across much of the Arab world.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a close ally of Trump, described Ms Haley as a “strong supporter of Israel”.

However, even during her time serving under Trump, she made an effort to distance herself from some of his more contentious policies. She decried the ‘Muslim travel ban’, calling it “un-American”.

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz is a senator for Texas, and another staunch ally of Donald Trump, despite running a bitter campaign against him for the 2016 Republican nomination for President.

During that 2016 campaign, Mr Cruz called Trump a “pathological liar” and “morally unfit for the presidency”, but that did not stop him becoming one of the most vocal spokesmen for Trump’s claims of election fraud following November 2020’s race.

In the Congressional session that was interrupted by pro-Trump rioters, Mr Cruz filed multiple objections to the certification of Joe Biden’s presidency, without any evidence for his claims. This has led to many calling him morally culpable for the storming of the Capitol and calls for his resignation.

Ted Cruz is one of the leading voices in the Republican party who supports Donald Trump's claims that the 2020 election was fraudulent

Republican operative Chad Sweet, who ran Mr Cruz’s 2016 campaign for President, denounced him for an “assault on our democracy.”

There is little doubt that Mr Cruz falls on the right-wing of the Republican party. He is a deeply religious conservative, who has also been characterised as anti-establishment. He is an avid defender of the second amendment and has previously advocated for the abolition of the IRS (America’s HMRC).

He has made enemies on both sides of the political spectrum, but there is little doubt he is a canny political operator. Former House Speaker and lifelong Republican John Boehner once said of Mr Cruz: “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.”

Tom Cotton

Tom Cotton is currently the senator for Arkansas, having previously served in the House of Representatives for the same state.

A former army captain who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, Mr Cotton is perhaps best known for an op-ed he penned in the New York Times earlier this year following the death of George Floyd. 

In the piece, he rejected the notion that there is “systemic racism in the criminal justice system in America” and called for the US military to be drafted in to assist police in the nationwide demonstrations. He has also referred to slavery as a “necessary evil”.

Tom Cotton (L) has been one of Trump's closest allies following his election defeat

Another Trump loyalist, Mr Cotton was shortlisted as a Supreme Court Justice nominee before the President chose to nominate Amy Coney Barrett. However, despite close ties with Trump, Mr Cotton refused to support his claims that the 2020 election was fraudulent.

Mr Cotton is also known for his opposition to gay marriage, stating in 2012 that “strong families also depend on strong marriages, and I support the traditional understanding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

Mike Pompeo

Mike Pompeo was the Secretary of State for the Trump administration.

Prior to that, Mr Pompeo was also the director of the CIA under Trump and a representative for the state of Kansas.

Like many of Trump’s great supporters, Mr Pompeo once was one of his most vocal critics, calling him an “authoritarian” in 2016.

A strong climate sceptic, Mr Pompeo once described the Paris Climate Accords as one of the “three sins” of the world along with the World Health Organisation and the Human Rights Council. He also opposed domestic efforts for climate regulation, saying “federal policy should be about the American family, not worshipping a radical environmental agenda.”

Mike Pompeo once said there will be a

During his time as Secretary of State, he has devoted particular time to opposing the Chinese Communist Party, describing Xi Jinping as “a true believer in a bankrupt totalitarian ideology.” He has also a very hawkish stance on Iran, reportedly strongly advocating for the assassination of Qasem Soleimani.

During the transition to the Biden government, Mr Pompeo appeared to support Trump’s claims of election fraud, saying “there will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”

Josh Hawley

Josh Hawley is a senator for Missouri, who previously served as the Attorney General for the state. He is the youngest member of the Senate, aged just 41.

During his time in Congress, Mr Hawley, has become known for his strong criticism of both Big Tech and China, as well as being a fierce proponent for an independent Hong Kong.

Recently, he was the first senator to raise a formal objection to the certification of Joe Biden’s presidency, leading to accusations that he has fanned the flames of the conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was fraudulent.

Josh Hawley has refused to back down on claims of election fraud, aligning himself closely with Trumpism

Following the storming of the Capitol, Mr Hawley refused to back down from his position, releasing a statement saying “I will never apologise for giving voice to the millions of Missourians and Americans who have concerns about the integrity of our elections.”

He has been characterised by the libertarian magazine Reason as a “first-rate demagogue”, while Esquire columnist Charles Pierce said “in a town full of thirsty people, Josh Hawley is a man crawling across the Kalahari. The most dangerous place to stand in Washington DC is any place between Senator Josh Hawley and a live microphone.”

Despite this, Mr Hawley retains support from some corners of the Republican party, owing to his strong Evangelical, conservative positions and a hatred for the “cosmopolitan elite”.

A Trump

The million dollar question is which one.

Donald Trump has hinted at his plans to run again in 2024, although these may be scuppered if the Senate votes to ban him from running for, or holding, public office again.

However, his daughter Ivanka and son Don Jr. have also been mooted as potential candidates for the 2024 race.

Ivanka has been one of her father’s closest advisers during his tenure in the White House, with her catch-all official title of ‘Advisor to the President’ allowing her to be involved in a range of issues, such as attending G20 meetings and establishing the ‘Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative’.

Read more: What next for Trump’s children?

On December 28 last year, she sent a tweet out expressing her love for the state of Iowa, which is the first state to hold caucuses for presidential candidates, fuelling speculation of a run.

There are also rumours abound that Don Jr., the President’s eldest son, is eyeing up a run for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. 

The rumours began in earnest in October 2020, he posted a photo of a “Don Jr. 2024” flag on Instagram.

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