Who Will Campaign for President in 2024 if Biden and Trump don’t Run?

Clockwise from top left: South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R), Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D), California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). 
Joe Raedle, Natasha Moustache, Justin Sullivan, Paul Hennessy via Getty Images

Potential presidential hopefuls aren’t waiting to lay the groundwork for themselves on the national stage, even as parties await official paperwork from President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, who have both indicated plans to run.

Plans for many of those viewed as contenders are contingent upon decisions from Biden and Trump. But they’re still making all the usual moves.

If there isn’t a Biden-Trump matchup, here are the people showing signs they could be in the 2024 mix:

— Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor, a former US House member and founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, has been portrayed as a MAGA star who could replace Trump. He has already beaten Trump in conservative straw polls.

— As the only two of Biden’s rivals from the 2020 primary to end up with jobs in the administration, Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris are the clear heirs apparent should Biden bow out. Harris has been viewed in this context ever since her historic pick as Biden’s VP nominee, while Buttigieg’s early dropout and subsequent endorsement of Biden kept him and many of his staffers in the good graces of the Biden camp. 

— As Insider reported last June, Mike Pence, the former Vice President, has already assembled a presidential campaign in waiting. Among them were his former chief of staff, Marc Short, along with his former press secretary Devin O’Malley, longtime aide Marty Obst, and former Mike Huckabee 2008 presidential campaign manager Chip Saltsman.

— Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois has been testing the waters in New Hampshire and slowly building his national brand through both conventional and unconventional channels, particularly in the form of memes.  Hailing from California, Pritzker has an estimated net worth of $3.6 billion as part of the family that owns the Hyatt hotel chain, Royal Caribbean cruises, and several other major assets.

— Gavin Newsom, the California progressive, who previously served as San Francisco’s mayor, survived an election to recall him as governor in September and has since emerged as a leading combative voice against DeSantis and conservatism.  He invited Floridians to California, “where we still believe in freedom,” in a $105,000 ad buy over the July 4 weekend, fueling national speculation about whether he’s considering his own 2024 bid.

Other Democrats: Gretchen Whitmer, Bernie Sanders (Independent) Stacey Abrams

Other Republicans: Kristi Noem, Chris Christie, Mike Pompeo, Tim Scott, Glenn Youngkin, Ted Cruz, Rick Scott, Tom Cotton, Nikki Haley, Liz Cheney

Other mentions: Tucker Carlson, the Rock, AOC, Elizabeth Warren, Jon Stewart,

According to Politico, in looking at potential candidates, Democrats are looking at these issues:

As it stands, however, Democrats are staring at three root conditions:

  • Age will be a serious, legitimate issue if Biden runs again; but he’s the only candidate who would preserve party unity.
  • If Biden did not run, Harris would enter a presidential race carrying a 747 full of baggage.
  • Any attempt to find an alternative to Harris risks fatally alienating the party’s most essential voters.

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