December 8, 2023

Donald Trump

Former President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before his speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference on March 4, 2023, in National Harbor, Maryland.
Former President Donald Trump

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Trump was the first candidate of either party to formally announce a 2024 presidential run, launching his campaign in a November speech from Mar-a-Lago, his South Florida resort. Since then, Trump has spent little time on the campaign trail but has ramped up his travel in recent weeks with visits to Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states on the GOP primary calendar. 

Considered to be the early frontrunner for the GOP nomination, Trump delivered the keynote address at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on March 4 after winning its straw poll of attendees.

While Trump remains popularity within the GOP, his legal troubles loom large over his candidacy. In March, he became the first ex-president to be charged with a crime when Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg indicted him on charges related to a “hush money” payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels. 

His legal peril grew on June 8 when Trump was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges stemming from special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into his handling of sensitive government documents. In August, Trump was indicted again by another federal grand jury, this time on charges related to his alleged efforts to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 election. And a grand jury seated in Fulton County returned an indictment naming Trump and 18 others in mid-August related to alleged attempts to reverse the outcome of Georgia’s presidential election.

In civil court, Trump was found liable on May 9 in a civil case brought by columnist E. Jean Carroll, who claimed Trump raped her in a department store fitting room in the 1990s and defamed her when she came forward several years ago. He also denied those allegations. The jury did not find that he raped Carroll, but did find that he sexually abused her, and ordered him to pay her roughly $5 million. The bar for finding someone liable in a civil case is lower than the burden of proof required to secure a criminal conviction, and does not count as a criminal record. 

Trump has said that an indictment would not deter him from seeking the presidency and has used his mug shot – taken when he surrendered to Fulton County authorities — to raise money for his campaign.

“I wouldn’t even think about leaving,” the former president said at CPAC earlier this year when asked whether he would stay in the race if charged. 

Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley, former ambassador to the United Nations, speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, on Friday, March 3, 2023.
Nikki Haley speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, on March 3, 2023.  

Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Haley, the former governor of South Carolina and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under Trump, joined the race for the Republican presidential nomination in mid-February, becoming the first challenger to her former boss. 

In her pitch to voters, Haley, 51, has characterized herself as part of a new generation of Republican leadership and proposed mandatory mental competency tests for politicians over the age of 75 — a subtle jab at Trump, who is 76, and Mr. Biden, who is 80.

The daughter of Indian immigrants, Haley was born in Bamberg, South Carolina, and served two terms as governor. She was the top U.S. diplomat at the United Nations during the Trump administration from January 2017 to December 2018.

Vivek Ramaswamy 

Vivek Ramaswamy, chairman and founder of Montes Archimedes Acquisition Corp., speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas, on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022.
Vivek Ramaswamy speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas on Aug. 5, 2022.

Bloomberg / Getty Images

Ramaswamy, a former biotech executive, is considered a longshot for the Republican nomination but is so far only the third Republican to jump into the race.

At 37 years old and with a net worth of roughly $600 million, Ramaswamy has declared himself an “anti-woke” capitalist and decried corporate investment based on environmental, social and governance principles.

Ramaswamy is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, and has ties to Sen. J.D. Vance and major GOP donor Peter Thiel. 

Asa Hutchinson

Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Wednesday, Nov 30, 2022.
Asa Hutchinson speaks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Nov. 30, 2022.

Hans Gutknecht/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images

Hutchinson, the former governor of Arkansas, became the fourth Republican to announce a 2024 presidential bid when he said he was getting in the race on April 2.

Hutchinson, 72, served two terms as governor from 2015 to 2023. A former congressman, he was also one of the House impeachment managers for President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial.

He has said he opposes Trump’s third attempt to win the White House, describing a possible Trump 2024 nomination as the “worst scenario.”

Tim Scott

Sen. Tim Scott
Sen. Tim Scott speaks at the Charleston County GOP Black History Month Banquet on Feb. 16, 2023 in Charleston, South Carolina.

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Sen. Tim Scott, of South Carolina, ended speculation about his political future on May 19 after filing a statement of his candidacy with the Federal Election Commission. He formally launched his presidential campaign at an event in his hometown of North Charleston on May 22.

“We live in the land of opportunity. We live in the land where it is absolutely possible for a kid raised in poverty, in a single-parent household, in a small apartment to one day serve in the people’s House and maybe even the White House,” Scott said in his campaign announcement.

He’s betting on the appeal of his upbeat vision for the country. “I see that America is starving for positive, optimistic leadership,” Scott told CBS News political correspondent Caitlin Huey-Burns announcing the launch of this exploratory committee

In that interview, he also declined twice to commit to supporting Trump, if the former president wins the GOP nomination.

Ron DeSantis

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Speaks At The Freedom Blueprint In Iowa
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to voters on March 10, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

The Florida governor filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to run for president on May 24, hours before he formally launched his campaign in a live appearance on Twitter Spaces alongside the platform’s CEO, Elon Musk.

The conversation was beset by technical issues that delayed DeSantis’ announcement. His team said the hiccups demonstrated his popularity, since he “literally busted up the internet.”

He laid out an agenda of tackling national crime rates, promoting energy independence and addressing immigration.

“To voters who are participating in this primary process, my pledge to you is this: If you nominate me you can set your clock to January 20, 2025 at high noon, because on the west side of the U.S. Capitol I will be taking the oath of office as the 47th president of the United States. No excuses. I will get the job done,” the governor said.

The Florida governor is in his second term and is so far considered to be the chief rival to Trump. The former president leveled attacks against DeSantis even before the governor officially entered the 2024 race, and while DeSantis largely declined to push back, that is expected to change now that he is officially a presidential candidate.

During his time in Tallahassee, DeSantis has gained national recognition for his COVID-19 policies and embrace of the culture wars. DeSantis has also leaned into education issues, reshaping Florida’s public education policies and engaging in local school board races during the 2022 election cycle, and recently signed into law a ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.

His efforts as governor have won him popularity with some Republican voters, though an April CBS News poll of likely GOP voters shows he still trails Trump in the primary.

DeSantis skipped CPAC this year and instead addressed donors at a retreat hosted by the conservative Club for Growth.

Mike Pence

Former Vice President Mike Pence Visits Iowa
Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks on May 23, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Rachel Mummey/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The former vice president and Indiana governor filed the relevant paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on June 5, cementing his place in the GOP field. He launched his presidential campaign Wednesday with a campaign video, and then will attend a kickoff event in Des Moines, Iowa.

“Different times call for different leadership,” Pence says in the video. “Today our party and our country need a leader that’ll appeal, as Lincoln said, to the better angels of our nature.”

The former vice president said it would be “easy to stay on the sidelines, but that’s not how I was raised. That’s why today, before God and my family, I’m announcing I’m running for president of the United States.”

Pence, who has been visiting early-voting states while he mulled entering the race, has suggested he believes it’s time for the GOP to move on from Trump.

“I think we’re going to have new leadership in this party and in this country,” he told CBS News in January.

Pence also has declined to commit to supporting Trump if he is the Republican nominee, instead saying that he believes GOP voters will choose “wisely again” in 2024 and thinks “different times call for different leadership.”

While Pence has promoted the policies of the Trump administration, he has also criticized the former president for his actions on Jan. 6, saying in November that Trump’s words were “reckless” and put him and his family, who were on Capitol Hill that day for the joint session of Congress, in danger.

Chris Christie

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks at the Republican Jewish Coalition Annual Leadership Meeting on Nov. 19, 2022, in Las Vegas.

Wade Vandervort/AFP via Getty Images

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie launched his second presidential campaign on June 6, entering the growing Republican primary race as former President Donald Trump’s main antagonist. 

In remarks announcing his campaign, Christie took aim at the former president, calling him “a bitter, angry man who wants power back for himself.” The former New Jersey governor framed his decision to run for president on his belief that the country is at a pivotal moment of having to choose between “big and small.” 

Christie argues that in recent years the country has been helmed by people who have “led us to being small — small by their example, small by the way they conduct themselves, small by the things they tells us we should care about … They’re making us smaller by dividing us into smaller and smaller groups.” 

“All throughout our history, there have been moments where we’ve had to choose between big and small,” he said. “I will tell you, the reason I’m here tonight is because this is one of those moments.” 

Christie filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission formalizing his candidacy June 6 and made his announcement in New Hampshire. 

Doug Burgum

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum
North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum speaks on Feb. 22, 2017 in Mandan, North Dakota.

Stephen Yang / Getty Images

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum jumped into the 2024 presidential race on June 7, the same day Pence officially launched his campaign. The governor’s dark-horse bid comes after the North Dakota legislature completed its legislative session in May.

“We need a change in the White House. We need a new leader for a changing economy. That’s why I’m announcing my run for president today,” Burgum wrote in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal

Burgum has served as North Dakota’s governor since 2016 and was reelected in 2020. A former software company CEO, he grew Great Plains Software into a $1 billion company that was acquired by Microsoft.

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