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A deep bench of GOP White House candidates Trump hasn’t been afraid of — yet


Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said in the spring that she will not run for president in 2024, when former President Donald Trump mounts a political comeback.

But after midterms, Ms. Haley changed her tune. She joined a growing list of fellow Republicans who refuse to let Mr Trump’s return put the kibosh on their White House aspirations.

“A lot of people have asked if I’m going to run for president now that the midterms are over,” Ms. Haley, who is also a former governor of South Carolina, said at the recent annual meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition leadership in Las Vegas. . “I will look into it seriously and will have more to say shortly.”

The willingness to challenge Mr. Trump marks a sharp shift in the Republican Party.

The 76-year-old has led the party since defeating Hillary Clinton in 2016 and has maintained control of the party despite losing to President Biden in 2020 and losing the House and Senate.

Neil Levesque, executive director of the well-known New Hampshire Institute of Politics at the College of Saint Anselm, said the disappointing GOP results hurt, if not pierced Mr. Trump’s armor.

“The power to persuade and keep people out of the race evaporated on election night,” Mr. Levesque said. “This is the weakest he’s had since he was elected president.”

Mr. Trump and his allies had planned for his announcement to come after a string of victories for Trump-backed candidates. Instead, several of Mr. Trump’s favorite picks lost. His role in the party is now under renewed scrutiny, including from some of his possible rivals in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

The general reaction to Trump’s announcement – the earliest declaration of a presidential race in US history – has been somewhat sour in GOP circles.

GOP mega-donors have announced they will not support his primary bid, signaling they are more interested in other potential candidates like Gows. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Glenn Youngkin of Virginia.

Mr. DeSantis contrasted his landslide re-election victory on Nov. 8 with the struggles of Trump-backed Republicans in other states.

“And, you know, at the end of the day, I would just tell people to go check the scoreboard for last Tuesday night,” Mr. DeSantis said last week.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took to Twitter to insult his former boss.

“We were told that we are tired of winning. But I’m tired of losing. And so do most Republicans,” said Mr. Pompeo, another potential challenger in 2024.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Mike Pence argued that it was time for the party to turn the page.

The Republican Party, he said on a book tour, fell short of expectations in the midterms in part because candidates who supported Mr. Trump’s stolen election claims have struggled.

“Candidates who have been focused on the problems people face today and the solutions for tomorrow, focused on the future, have done quite well,” Mr. Pence said. “But the candidates who were focused on the past, the candidates who were focused on re-evaluating the 2020 election, didn’t succeed either.”

Mr Pence also refused to rule out a run, saying: “I’ll keep you posted on whether I’m going to run or not. … But I think we will have a better choice” than Mr. Trump.

Most polls show Mr. Trump remains the undisputed frontrunner in the Republican presidential race. However, a national Morning Consult/Politico poll of registered voters released last week found that 65% said Mr. Trump should not run again.

President Biden appears set to take on the winner of the Republican nomination race and feels good about his chances after Democrats’ better-than-expected midterm results.

Democrats are optimistic that Mr. Biden will win the rematch, but are concerned that the 80-year-old president could run against other Republican candidates with less baggage.

Trump’s team is betting that a crowded GOP field will benefit the former president as much as it did in 2016, when his critics failed to rally around a single alternative, allowing him to win primaries in states like New Hampshire and South Carolina, with about a third of the vote.

Govt. Larry Hogan of Maryland and Chris Sununu of New Hampshire are believed to be considering a run for president, along with senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Rick Scott of Florida.

Saul Anouzis, a former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party who now heads the 60 Plus American Association, an advocacy group for seniors, said Mr. Trump wanted to avoid a primary fight.

“I think there are three kinds of Republicans: pro-Trump, anti-Trump, and those who want to move on. And I think there is a growing group of those who want to move on,” he said. “Trump’s intention was to come in and clear the field, which hasn’t happened, and since that hasn’t happened, there are questions about whether he’s going to stay there. … I’m not convinced, given the lackluster response he received from his statement, that he remains in the race.”

The waning appetite for Trump’s comeback hasn’t affected his potential rivals.

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, another possible 2024 contender, said Mr Trump’s selfish instincts and stolen election claims were dragging the party down.

“We keep losing and losing and losing,” Mr. Christie told a meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition. “And the fact of the matter is, we’re going to lose because Donald Trump has put himself in front of everybody.”

Mr. Christie criticized Mr. Trump for supporting bad candidates and using his stolen election claims as a litmus test for his support.

“Time to stop whispering,” said Mr. Christie. “It’s time to stop being afraid of anyone. It is time to stand up for the principles and beliefs on which we founded this party and this country.”

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