A look at prospective 2024 US presidential election contenders

A look at prospective 2024 US presidential election contenders
The New Arab takes a look at possible 2024 US election contenders from both the Republican and Democratic parties.
15 min read
Washington, D.C.
26 May, 2023
Who will be vying for the White House in 2024? [Getty]

Before this year was halfway through, the US presidential election season already seemed to be in full swing in the news. Every few days, names are added to the long list of potential candidates, most of them on the Republican side.

As the anticipation builds, political pundits and analysts are closely examining the profiles and aspirations of these potential candidates, fuelling speculation about the future of American politics.

The New Arab has put together a list of the possible contenders from both the Republican and Democratic parties.


1) Donald Trump was the first Republican to announce his intention to run for president in the 2024 election. He has the advantage of name recognition and the ability to attract large audiences at rallies and on TV. He is, however, facing multiple criminal charges and lawsuits that could affect his run. In most polls, he remains in the lead, just ahead of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

 Donald Trump Begins 2024 Campaign With A Speech In Iowa
Donald Trump Begins 2024 Campaign With A Speech In Iowa [GETTY]

2) Ron DeSantis declared his candidacy in May. The Florida governor has raised alarms recently by passing a series of bills affecting the rights of marginalised groups, particularly the LGBTQ+ community. His state has also been in the news for widespread bans on books, often covering race and gender issues. Recently, several rights groups, including the NAACP, issued travel warnings for Florida. The day after his presidential run announcement, he said that if elected he would pardon rioters from the 6 January 2021 attack on the US Congress.

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3) Nikki Haley was one of the first Republicans to declare her candidacy. She made a name for herself nationally and internationally in 2015 when, as governor of South Carolina, she oversaw the removal of the Confederate flag at the State Capitol. In recent years, however, she has reasserted her right-wing credentials, including during her time serving as the United States' ambassador to the United Nations under Trump.

US ambassador to UN Nikki Haley at Security Council


4) Tim Scott, another South Carolinian, threw his hat in the ring in May. The junior senator from his state, Scott was appointed by Haley when Jim DeMint resigned to lead the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank. He is the first Black senator from the South since 1881. His voting record has been consistently conservative, though he has diverged at times with his Republican colleagues on the issue of police brutality. Following the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, he authored a police reform bill, a far less substantial one than the one written by his Democratic colleagues. Neither passed.

5) Vivek Ramaswamy declared his intention to run in February with little fanfare, due to his name not being widely recognised in politics. He is an entrepreneur and investor with no experience of holding political office. In April, the presidential hopeful clashed with now former CNN host Don Lemon over civil rights history, in which the guest appeared to minimise the continued legacy of racism in modern times. The publicity of the on-air sparring gave him a boost in name recognition, though likely not enough to make him a serious contender for president.

6) Asa Hutchinson, former governor of Arkansas, is another presidential hopeful who has announced his plans to run for office, doing so in a news interview in April with minimal public response. During his time as governor, he voiced opposition to refugee resettlement in his state, resumed executions in Arkansas, signed legislation that would limit LGBTQ+ rights, and during the pandemic signed legislation prohibiting companies from requiring vaccines from their employees. Where he differs from some on the far-right of his party is that he does not believe the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump and he does not think Republicans who have promoted this allegation should be put into positions of leadership.

7) Larry Elder is another longshot who has announced his plans to run for president, doing so in an interview on Fox News in April. The former lawyer and conservative talk show host made a name for himself when he ran against California Governor Gavin Newsom in his recall election. He has been publicly criticised for disparaging comments about women, gays and Black people (though he is Black). He has also been criticised for spreading science misinformation related to vaccines and climate change on his radio show. He is a strong supporter of Trump, regularly praising him on Twitter.

Larry Elder
Republican presidential candidate conservative radio talk show host Larry Elder speaks to guests at the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition Spring Kick-Off on April 22, 2023 in Clive, Iowa. [GETTY]

8) Glenn Youngkin, governor of Virginia, hasn't put his name forward, but he has long been considered a Republican favourite to run for president. His successful run for governor in a blue state during the thick of the pandemic gave Republicans a model for running on a "parental rights" platform, opposing school lockdowns and mask mandates. Now that the pandemic is no longer considered a health emergency, Youngkin has not been able to continue using the same playbook. Nevertheless, he would be a serious contender. There is some speculation that if he runs, he will wait to announce until after the Virginia state legislative elections in November.

9) Chris Sununu, like Youngkin, is a politician that many mainstream Republicans would like to see in the race. The New Hampshire governor has openly stated his support for Trump, though he does not prioritise promoting the controversial positions of many of his fellow Trump supporters. He is generally considered fiscally conservative, favouring tax cuts for businesses, and socially moderate to liberal, generally supporting women's reproductive rights and LGBTQ+ rights. He also did not support Trump's "zero-tolerance" policy on undocumented immigrants. On his father's side, he has family that originated from Beirut and Jerusalem, which, if he ran, would make him one of the few candidates with Arab ancestry.

Chris Sununu
Chris Sununu speaks onstage at the 2023 TIME100 Summit at Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 25, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for TIME)

10) Mike Pence announced in June that he will run. There had long been speculation of this with his book tour and regular news interviews. Though the 6 January, 2021 Capitol rioters were chanting for Pence to be hanged for doing his job of certifying the presidential election in which Joe Biden won, he has been reluctant to forcefully criticise Trump for these violent threats on his life. Having served as Trump's vice-president, but then being abandoned by his former boss, it's unclear where Pence would find his base of support.

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11) Greg Abbot, the governor of Texas, has been in the news over the past couple of years for his positions on immigrants arriving in the state through the southern border. Over the past two years, he has supported a stunt which puts immigrants on flights and buses from the border area to northern US cities, such as New York, Boston, Chicago and Washington, DC, including to the residence of Vice President Kamala Harris. During his time as attorney general of Texas, he supported his state's ban on sex toys. Due to his name recognition and experience, he would be considered a serious contender, if he chose to run.

12) Rick Scott, the junior senator from Florida, is considered a favourite to enter the presidential race in what is still considered a relatively open field. His political positions are consistently conservative, including on abortion rights, immigration and gun control. He has been a supporter of Trump, but has criticised some of the former president's abrasive rhetoric. Some of his financial investments, with links to foreign governments, have been seen as controversial. With a net worth of $200 million, he is considered one of the wealthiest members of Congress.

13) Marco Rubio, the senior senator from Florida, has already run for president, giving him an advantage with name recognition. Rubio's positions are generally consistently conservative, though with some nuance. During former President Barack Obama's tenure, Rubio was part of a bipartisan group that worked on an immigration reform, which would include giving certain undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship. In 2013, he was chosen to give the Republican response to Obama's State of the Union address, marking the first time such a speech was done in both English and Spanish. He has been ranked as being among the most bipartisan senators.

Marco Rubio
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) leaves the Senate Chamber following a vote at the U.S. Capitol on May 10, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

14) Ted Cruz is another senator with experience running for president, and would therefore enter the race with a high level of name recognition if he chose to run. Name recognition, however, might not help Cruz, as he was widely criticised during the 2016 race for supporting Trump after he called his wife, Heidi, ugly.  More seriously for his constituents, during a major winter storm in 2021 that caused widespread power outages and water cuts for millions of residents throughout the state, he went on a family vacation to Cancun, garnering him the nickname Cancun Cruz. It is unclear how he could overcome this if he decides to run for president.

15) Chris Christie, who announced his intention to run in June, is another veteran of the presidential campaign trail. As a former governor of a blue-leaning state, he would come in with bipartisan credentials, including working with Obama after the 2012 Hurricane Sandy disaster, if he chose to run for president again. He has, however, supported some of his party's key positions, including defunding public schools in favour of vouchers for private and parochial schools, tax breaks for corporations, and he has gone from supporting abortion rights early in his career to describing himself as a pro-life governor in 2014. He has faced multiple serious allegations of corruption and abuse of power, and in one instance was accused of blocking a major commuter bridge. By the time he left office, his disapproval rating was at 81 percent, the highest in his state's history. He continues to give personable interviews on TV, and he could conceivably regain enough popularity to make a serious run for president. 

16) Brian Kemp, governor of Georgia, has not indicated that he intends to run for president. However, his 2022 election win in a state that appeared to have turned blue has made some Republicans hopeful that he has the ability to appeal to moderates. Though his policies have largely been consistently right-wing, one area where he has stood out has been the certification of Joe Biden as the state's winner in the 2020 presidential election. Prior to that, in 2018, he faced widespread accusations of voter suppression, when he, as secretary of state,  presided over his own election, beating Stacey Abrams. His latest win was less controversial, and possibly points to Georgia as still being a swing state.

17) Larry Hogan, former governor of Maryland, would be considered another moderate (particularly when accounting for 2020 election deniers). During Covid-19, he implemented restrictions on gatherings similar to those of blue states; his record on the environment is mixed, though he has supported legislation to protect the environment. He has passed legislation to decriminalise marijuana paraphernalia, has said abortion should remain legal, and passed legislation to make birth control cheaper. Nevertheless, he has supported conservative legislation, including vetoing a bill expanding voting rights. He has also increased prosecution of violent crime and vetoed a bill to abolish life without parole for juvenile offenders.

Larry Hogan
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan speaks to guests at the Republican Jewish Coalition Annual Leadership Meeting on November 18, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada [Getty]

18) Josh Hawley, the senior senator from Missouri, is considered among the more conservative members of the US Senate. He was the first senator to object to the certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election. During the 6 January 2021 storming of the US Capitol, Hawley was photographed raising his fist in solidarity with the rioters. Later that day, he was shown running out of the Capitol, fleeing for his safety. If he decides to run for president, he could have difficulty appealing to voters beyond his base.

19) Mike Pompeo, who served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency in the Trump administration, has been floated as a potential candidate. He was involved in moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and with the Abraham Accords. He was reportedly a major proponent in Trump's decision to assassinate Iranian General Qasem Soleimani by a drone strike on Baghdad's Airport Road. He has expressed scepticism about climate change. He was an outspoken supporter of Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

20) John Bolton, who served as National Security Advisor in the Trump administration and as United Nations ambassador under George W. Bush, has openly considered running for president in the 2024 election. However, multiple TV appearances in recent months discussing his differences with the Trump administration he parted ways with has indicated to some that he's leaving the door open to run for president. He is considered hawkish, advocating for regime change in multiple countries. He has openly admitted to being behind coups in multiple countries. 

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21) Tucker Carlson, Fox's recently fired news commentator, is being closely watched to see what he does next. Many speculated that he might run for president following a visit to Iowa months before his dismissal from Fox. A public affairs committee (PAC) has been raising money for Carlson's candidacy. However, his lawyer recently sent the PAC a cease-and-desist letter, asking them to stop the fundraising, a strong indication that he does not wish to enter the race. 

22) Perry Johnson, a businessman from Michigan, who previously sought the governorship of the state, launched his long-shot bid for president in March. When he tried to run for governor, he was found to have filed thousands of fraudulent nomination signatures. Since announcing his bid, he has said he plans to eliminate the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

23) Will Hurd is a former US representative from Texas and a former CIA clandestine officer. He announced his plan to run for president in June, taking on an anti-Trump stance. He has said that if Trump is the Republican nominee that he would not support him. Though he has voted along his party's line more than 80 percent of the time, he is often described as a moderate Republican.

24) Francis Suarez, the mayor of Miami, added his name to the list of presidential hopefuls in June. He also works as a real estate attorney, and has faced criticism for not disclosing the names of his clients. From the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, he has implemented policies to prevent the spread of the virus, by limiting large gathering, in contrast with many of his Republican counterparts.

25) Doug Burgum, the governor of North Dakota, entered the race in June. Recent news reports indicate that he is spending more on presidential ads than any other candidate. This might be necessary for his name recognition, as a recent poll found that around 90 percent of American voters did not know his name. In his state, he is known for opposing LGBTQ+ rights. As governor, he has signed eight anti-transgender law this year.

26) Kristi Noem, the governor of South Dakota, has been seen as a potential presidential contender for at least the past two years. Her profile was raised considerably during the Covid-19 pandemic, when she insisted on not limiting large gatherings, even after widespread outbreaks of the virus. She also made a name for herself when she sent South Dakota National Guard troops down to the US-Mexico border. She has not declared her candidacy.

27) Liz Cheney, a former US representative from Wyoming, has not indicated that she will run for president. That has not, however, prevented speculation that she might enter the crowded field. Despite having spoken out against Trump on the 6 January insurrection, she is generally unpopular with Democrats for her consistently far-right voting record. With no strong base of support, it is unclear how she would win over voters. 


1) Joe Biden, the incumbent president, is the presumptive Democratic nominee. Because of his advanced age (he would be 82 when taking office if he wins the presidency again), there are questions about his ability to continue his work in the coming years. Questions came up during his first presidential run, though he was partly helped by the pandemic when he was able to campaign online from his basement. With the peak pandemic now in the past, it remains to be seen how energetic he is on the live campaign trail.

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2) Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an environmental lawyer and nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy, has become known in recent years for his scepticism of vaccines, which he highlighted during the Covid-19 pandemic. He also holds health-related conspiracy theories about AIDS. He is not considered a serious contender, though he has a niche following on the far left. 

3) Marianne Williamson, a self-help author, has also declared her intention to run for president. She ran in 2020's crowded field of Democratic candidates, which helped her gain name recognition beyond her original following. She has become something of a TikTok sensation for her online talks about social justice, the environment, and corporate greed. Though she is not expected to go far in the race, the issues she discusses could be a way of engaging young voters.

4) Pete Buttigieg, Biden's transportation secretary, has not expressed any interest in running against his boss. However, a recent profile in Wired magazine effusively praising him has led to speculation that he is being seen as a potential alternative should Biden's age prove to be an issue. When he ran for president in 2020, he was widely criticised as an elite candidate who was out of touch with ordinary Americans, as an Ivy League-educated small-city mayor who believed his next career step was to the presidency. In his current position, widely seen as a career stepping stone to the presidency, that criticism remains. 

5) Joe Manchin, the senior senator of West Virginia and a moderate Democrat who is known to sometimes go against his party on key votes, has recently been flirting with the idea of running for president, possibly as a third-party candidate. He has faced criticism from Democrats for helping thwart Biden's environmental and infrastructure agenda. However, it is unclear who his base would be, given his unpopularity within the Democratic party and his lack of history with the Republican party. 

Green Party

Cornel West, a left-wing public intellectual, declared his intention to run for president in June. He is known for speaking out on race, gender and socioeconomic injustice. He had originally decided to run with the People's Party, a party formed in 2017 by a former Bernie Sanders campaign staffer. He then switched to the Green Party, saying he wanted to build a progressive coalition. He has faced criticism from members of the Democratic Party for what some see as a potential spoiler who could take votes away from Biden, though others have suggested he could bring in more voters in general.