As it stands, former and potentially future President Donald Trump is the only serious candidate to have declared he is running in 2024. Regardless of what one thinks of him, he is likely to remain the most memorable contender even when other candidates jump into the field, save for perhaps Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL). It's natural that other candidates would want to run, especially if one wants to argue that appeal to Trump isn't what it was in 2016 or 2020. Nevertheless, that some people who are considering a run are doing so remains puzzling.
Last week, former National Security Advisor John Bolton told "Good Morning Britain" that he was entering the race, as a way to stop his former boss from serving another term. Writing for The New Yorker's Intelligencer, Margaret Hartmann framed it as "John Bolton Announces 2024’s Most Ridiculous Presidential Bid."
Donald Trump's former national security advisor John Bolton has told us that he will run for US President in a bid to stop his former boss from getting back into the White House. pic.twitter.com/ZY66AFQ2od— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) January 6, 2023
Matt had highlighted last month how Bolton was likely going to be one such contender, and it would be to directly challenge Trump, based on statements he had made on Truth Social about the Constitution.
Bolton himself tweeted out the clip of his appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press Now," pointing out he's "prepared to get in the race."
When you challenge the Constitution itself, that is un-American. If the current GOP presidential candidates don't repudiate Trump, I'm prepared to get in the race. pic.twitter.com/mKnU2tDhyc— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) December 5, 2022
For what it's worth, Trump went on to clarify these statements on Truth Social, with strong words for those he say took his words out of context, including and especially the media.
Bolton has plenty of baggage of his own, least of all because he has admitted to being instrumental in coups before, which he sees as no big deal. So, Matt pointed out in writing about Bolton's potential presidential run, "maybe he’s not the best figure to take the mantle of Constitution defender." Bolton is also regarded as something of a neocon and creature of the swamp. That Bolton served as an advisor to Trump has led some who normally otherwise agree with Trump, like now Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH), to take issue with the former president for putting his trust in the bad place with people who gave him bad advice.
Even without declaring their intentions as such a definitive way as Bolton has, there are others in his position. Former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), lost by nearly 40 points to now Rep. Harriet Hageman, a Trump-backed challenger, in last August's primary. The morning after the primary, she was asked by Savannah Guthrie on "The Today Show" if she was going to run in 2024, something she admitted she is considering, indicating that "I’ll make a decision in the coming months."
“I’ll make a decision in the coming months.” — Rep. Liz Cheney said about possibly running for President. pic.twitter.com/b2SjAYVN2W— TODAY (@TODAYshow) August 17, 2022
Cheney had been asked about and hinted that she was running for higher officer even before she lost her primary in such a spectacular fashion. She also has continued to go after Trump, having seemingly learned nothing when it comes to how fellow Republicans didn't appreciate the distraction her obsession created.
It's worth highlighting, though, that as Katie pointed out, polling shows that Cheney running would actually help Trump, should she enter in as an Independent candidate against him and President Joe Biden.
The former congresswoman isn't the only one from the January 6 select committee who was considered a potential presidential contender. Former Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) chose to retire after his seat was pretty much redistricted out of existence by Illinois Democrats. That didn't stop the press, especially Dana Bash when she had Kinzinger on CNN's "State of the Union" in the first episode of the year, from claiming he had to leave Congress "largely as a result of that patriotic service" of serving on the select committee.
Kinzinger has hinted at running for higher office before. As Bash reminded him, he told HuffPost he thought "it'd be fun" to run against Trump. While Kinzinger confirmed he said that, and that it might be fun, he did clarify he's not going to run. Bash could hardly take no for answer, though, pointing out "no matter what you do, I don't think that this is the last that we're going to hear from Adam Kinzinger."
There also look to be some governors entering the mix, especially as they're term-limited and looking for things to do.
Say what you will about Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD) being a RINO, as he was a popularly governing Republican in the bright blue state of Maryland. He was even handily reelected in 2018 by double digits, becoming only the second Republican to be elected to two terms in the state's history. It's no surprise, then, that Hogan was regarded as one of the most popular sitting governors in the country.
With approval ratings above 70%, Republican Governors Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, Phil Scott of Vermont and Larry Hogan of Maryland are America’s most popular governors.— Morning Consult (@MorningConsult) April 28, 2022
View the full list: https://t.co/tzZqPbwJUg pic.twitter.com/Nyc1QnWZZN
Running for president means appealing to the rest of the country though, and winning in a Republican primary when the party still views Trump as quite the influential force, someone Hogan has made it his business to publicly go up against.
Even if he were to somehow get the nomination, it's also worth wondering if Hogan could win Maryland, given that the state has voted for the Democratic nominee consistently every year since 1992.
Hogan isn't always included in the polls for the 2024 Republican primary. One such poll which does include Hogan, a Cygnal poll from last December with 1,019 likely Republican presidential primary voters, shows him with 1 percent support.
Then there's former Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR), who recently left office and was replaced by Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R-AR), who was just sworn in on Tuesday.
While Hutchinson is from a particularly red state, again, he still has to get through a primary. He too has been seen as something as a RINO, especially due to his veto of legislation that would protect minors from undergoing gender transition procedures, which put him at odds with Trump. The legislation, known as the SAFE Act, went into law regardless, after the state legislature overrode Hutchinson's veto. The potential primary opponent has not been afraid to go against Trump in other instances as well, just as he did in an interview last month with the Associated Press, in which he called Trump's run the "worst scenario" for the party.
Hutchinson has continued to hint at running for president. Last November he told "CNN This Morning" that he was "very seriously" considering a run. More recently, he said while appearing on "Mornings with Maria" that a run is "on the table, obviously" and that he "will be thinking through that in the coming days and months."
In that same Cygnal poll, Hutchinson received 0 percent support.
Earlier on Friday, CNN's Gabby Orr also raised points about a lack of serious potential candidates at this point in the race, writing "Trump’s 2024 bid is off to a rough start. But other Republicans aren’t eager to take him on just yet."