2024 Election Outlook: Republican Field Takes Shape

March 20, 2023

The 2016 presidential primary field was crowded and competitive, with 17 candidates seeking the Republican nomination. While the 2024 field may not be as large (yet), it is shaping to be just as competitive.

Three candidates have officially declared for the Republican nomination for President in 2024:

  1. Former President Donald Trump – Declared his candidacy just weeks after the midterm election on November 22, 2022. According to RealClear Politics, Trump is leading the field with 43.9%. Despite being impeached twice and under investigation, Trump maintains his popularity with the GOP base.
  2. Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley – Officially joined the race on February 14, 2023. Haley was the first high-profile Trump administration official to jump in as a challenger. Haley maintains an edge in the race with her compelling personal background and record as Governor of South Carolina. However, she is considered a long-shot candidate.
  3. Vivek Ramaswamy (R) – A political newcomer to the field, announced his campaign on February 21. His background as a former tech and finance executive could appeal to Republican primary voters as a Trump alternative. His profile has recently been elevated in conservative circles because of his anti-ESG rhetoric. However, his lack of name recognition and base support may hurt his chance of succeeding as a major candidate.

Three doesn’t seem like a crowd….yet. However, five other well-known Republicans are mulling a potential run:

  1. Gov. Ron DeSantis - Is considered Trump’s greatest rival this cycle. The Governor of Florida, who recently won reelection by 20 points, has kicked off a nationwide book tour to promote his book, The Courage to Be Free. The book tour is considered a soft launch for his 2024 campaign. Last week, he met with Republican legislators in Iowa, prompting Iowa’s Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) to release a statement announcing her neutrality in the GOP presidential primary.
  2. Former VP Mike Pence - Trump’s number two in 2016. Pence’s popularity with evangelicals in the GOP base is his greatest strength and weakness because his support in the GOP base ends there. Pence is swinging through the sunbelt states, speaking at universities before officially announcing.
  3. Sen. Tim Scott - South Carolina’s junior Senator, has been giving speeches in early primary states. Scott is considered the “nice-guy” candidate, and his diverse background and views could bring a different perspective to the GOP. Additionally, he has been reaching out to donors beyond South Carolina to increase his war chest in recent months.
  4. Gov. Glenn Youngkin - Virginia Governor who defied expectations by being elected in a blue state in 2021; made his prime-time debut on CNN last week, headlining a town hall on education. This event signaled his profile is on the rise. Youngkin, in recent weeks, has been seen fundraising in New York for a potential White House bid.
  5. Fmr. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo - Is the latest Trump cabinet official publicly mulling a bid. With appearances at CPAC and Fox News Sunday, he has been outspoken about his view that the Republican party needs to move forward and would decide whether to run in the coming months.

The bottom line: In political time, it’s a lifetime until the 2024 Republican National Convention. Over the next 17 months, CREFC will continue to highlight the GOP Presidential primary candidates as the field takes shape.

Contact Chelsea Neil at cneil@crefc.org with any questions about the 2024 cycle. 


Chelsea Neil
Manager, Political and Government Relations
Illustration of an elephant thawing from an ice cube.
The information provided herein is general in nature and for educational purposes only. CRE Finance Council makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, validity, usefulness, or suitability of the information provided. The information should not be relied upon or interpreted as legal, financial, tax, accounting, investment, commercial or other advice, and CRE Finance Council disclaims all liability for any such reliance. © 2023 CRE Finance Council. All rights reserved.

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