The Republican field for the 2024 presidential election is about to get bigger as three new candidates announce their campaigns. Former Vice President Mike Pence has already started the process, while former Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey and Governor Doug Burgum of North Dakota are expected to do the same soon. This expansion of the field is partly driven by the opportunity presented by Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida’s struggle to establish himself as the leading contender against former President Donald J. Trump.
Although trailing Mr. Trump by around 30 percentage points in national polls of Republican voters, Mr. DeSantis’ rivals see a chance to emerge as a viable alternative. With one in four Republicans still looking for another option, fierce competition is beginning to unfold.
While all three new candidates are considered underdogs at this stage, their announcements are expected to attract some attention, with hopes that they can build broader support.
- Announcement: Tuesday, June 6
- Venue: A town-hall-style event at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics outside Manchester.
- Strategy: Mr. Christie, who withdrew early from the 2016 primary and later became a supporter of Mr. Trump, positions himself as the former president’s harshest critic among the Republican candidates. He argues that Mr. Trump is unfit for office after inciting the attack on the Capitol. Mr. Christie’s campaign team aims to generate media attention and confront Trump directly during debates.
- Challenges: Being an outspoken Trump critic has not brought significant benefits to Mr. Christie so far. A recent Monmouth poll showed that he was viewed most unfavorably by Republican voters among the ten declared or potential 2024 candidates tested (21 percent favorable, 47 percent unfavorable). Nevertheless, his strategy revolves around securing a spot on the debate stage, where he promises to challenge Mr. Trump head-on. Mr. Christie is expected to focus heavily on campaigning in New Hampshire, where many independent voters participate in the primary, giving him the best chance to undermine Mr. Trump’s support.
- Announcement: Wednesday, June 7
- Venue: A rally with voters in Des Moines, followed by a CNN town hall at 9 p.m. Eastern.
- Strategy: As the former vice president, Mr. Pence initially brought credibility with social conservatives to the 2016 ticket. However, his standing with the party base waned when he refused to support Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn President Biden’s victory. Mr. Pence, an evangelical Christian, and former Indiana governor aligns well with Iowa conservatives, and he plans to focus his campaign efforts there to secure a strong showing in the first nominating contest next year. His campaign aims to reintroduce him as an independent candidate, separate from just being Mr. Trump’s second-in-command.
- Challenges: Mr. Pence’s traditional Reagan-esque views on economic and foreign policy, including his support for aid to Ukraine, put him at odds with the current populist trend within the party. The Monmouth poll revealed that he had the second-highest unfavorable rating (35 percent unfavorable, 46 percent favorable). When Sean Hannity of Fox News mentioned Mr. Pence’s entry into the race during a town hall with Mr. Trump, it was met with boos from the audience.
- Announcement: Wednesday, June 7
- Venue: Fargo, N.D.
- Strategy: Governor Doug Burgum of North Dakota, relatively unknown outside his home state, has significant personal wealth from his success in computer software. This self-funding gives him a slim chance to pursue his campaign. Mr. Burgum believes that a “silent majority” comprising 60 percent of American voters feels overlooked amidst intense ideological debates dominating politics. His message focuses on energy policy, aiming to achieve carbon neutrality in North Dakota by 2030. Instead of reducing reliance on fossil fuels, Mr. Burgum aims to accelerate technology for capturing carbon emissions underground while keeping the state’s economy intact.
- Challenges: Governor Burgum’s low-key demeanor and departure from Trump-style populism present significant challenges. He is relatively unknown and faces an uphill battle in today’s Republican landscape.
In summary, the field of Republican candidates for the 2024 presidential election is expanding with the addition of three new contenders: Chris Christie, Mike Pence, and Doug Burgum. Each candidate brings their own strategies, challenges, and positions to the race as they aim to challenge former President Donald J. Trump and become the alternative choice for Republican voters. Stay tuned for updates on their campaigns and the evolving dynamics of the GOP field.