Maryland Governor Larry Hogan is planning trips to Iowa and New Hampshire. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois, is considering a timetable for a potential presidential announcement. And allies of Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, are speaking openly about her prospects for the White House.
With the next presidential election more than two years away, a shadow primary is already taking shape between at least three fierce Republican critics of former President Donald Trump to determine who is best positioned to fill the anti-Trump lane in 2024.
His apparent willingness to run, even if Trump does, as is widely expected, represents a change from previous years when “Never Trump” operatives failed to recruit any Republican officials to challenge the incumbent president. But with the 2024 race almost in the offing, the question is no longer whether one of Trump’s top Republican critics will run, but how many will mount a campaign and when they will announce it.
Those close to Cheney, Hogan and Kinzinger hope that one of them, if not more, will launch a presidential bid after the 2022 midterm elections. While all three are nationally known to some extent, their goal would not necessarily be to win the presidency. Above all, they want to hinder Trump’s return to the White House, at least compared to 2020, when his allies cleared the field of any Republican opponents and persuaded some states to cancel primaries entirely.
“It’s there as an option, but it’s not necessarily because this is all a big plan to be able to be in the White House,” Kinzinger told The Associated Press when asked about his timeline to decide on a presidential bid. “He’s looking and saying, ‘Is there going to be a voice that can represent from that megaphone the importance of defending this country and democracy and what America is all about?’ Certainly, I’m sure that within the next year or so, it will be a point where you will have to make a decision.
“If I’m not the one doing something, we’ll definitely be all for whoever can represent us,” Kinzinger said.
Republican primary voters are expected to have other options.
Several former Trump loyalists who have emerged as on-and-off Trump critics are also interested in the GOP’s upcoming presidential nomination. Among them: former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. But most in this group have offered Trump far more praise than criticism, leaving the likes of Cheney, Hogan and Kinzinger as Trump’s only consistent antagonists in the 2024 conversation.
The range of prospects suggests an openness within the GOP to outdo Trump and his divisive politics, even as many GOP voters suggest they’d like to see him run for a third time.
About 7 in 10 Republicans said the former president should run for president again in 2024, according to a CBS poll last month. Among the most common reasons they cited: He is the best Republican candidate and has the best chance of winning.
[Con información de The Associated Press]
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