In modern-day America, the process for a person gaining a political party’s nomination for president starts well before even the earliest of the primary elections/caucuses. The general election may not be scheduled until November 2024, but the first Republican debate among any group of people seeking their spot on the ballot will take place in Milwaukee in August 2023, and those whose names are being bandied about as potential candidates are already declaring their intentions — one way or the other.
Thanks, But No Thanks
Republican Larry Hogan served two terms as governor of Maryland, which is the limit in the state, officially leaving the office in January 2023, with approval ratings of 68% among Republicans and 81% among Democrats. He has decided against seeking the office of POTUS and expressed his reasons in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” and in an opinion piece for the New York Times, both on March 5.
One factor in Hogan’s decision to stay out of the 2024 arena is the toll such a campaign can take on the families of the men and women seeking the job. But his words also paint the picture of a man with a great disdain for former President Donald Trump, saying he wants no part of “another multi-car pileup that could potentially help [him] recapture the nomination.”
Hogan also expressed the opinion that he believes Republican voters are ready to move away from “the drama” and are more open to other people taking the reins of the party, but that might be only wishful thinking. In his television interview, he said that an overly crowded field of nominees could suppress the odds of someone rising to the top to take on Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who are “soaking up all the oxygen” in the party right now.
Hats in the Ring
As of March 6, only four other people have announced their intentions to challenge Trump for the spot as the GOP candidate for president in 2024. There is Nikki Haley, who served as ambassador to the United Nations during Trump’s administration, Vivek Ramaswamy, Rollan Roberts II, and Perry Johnson.
Haley is the most familiar name of the challengers, the Republicans in Michigan may be somewhat familiar with Johnson, who tried to mount a 2022 campaign for governor in their state. However, he failed to make it to the GOP primary ballot because the state’s Bureau of Elections threw out large blocks of signatures due to allegations of intentional fraud on the part of several petition circulators.
Ramaswamy is an entrepreneur from Cincinnati and is a relatively unknown who is trying to establish himself as a young-blood (he is only 37 years old) anti-woke Conservative, and Roberts is a businessman from West Virginia. At the annual Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) convention that wrapped up on March 5, the top three finishers in their unscientific straw poll were:
- Trump 62%.
- DeSantis 20%.
- Johnson 5%.
In a recent survey (February 24-27) from the polling firm Cygnal, the “generic ballot,” showed Americans are extremely divided, with 45.4% saying they would vote for a Republican candidate, 46.3% for Democrat, and 8.4% unsure. When it comes to favorability ratings among Republicans, Trump and DeSantis are far and away at the top at 79% and 76%, respectively.
A majority also view Haley favorably (57%), with Ramaswamy coming in at 23%. However, he has a much bigger problem, name recognition. A staggering 43.5% of the respondents simply have no idea who the man is at all.