Democrats and Republicans buckle up for the final two-week stretch of the midterm elections, some groups are already looking ahead to the 2024 presidential election, which is set to begin in earnest in just a matter of weeks.
American Bridge, the largest opposition research group for the Democratic Party, is tracking a list of roughly 21 possible candidates for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024, according to documents obtained by Yahoo News. The list is the most expansive field of Republican contenders in modern history, containing a hodgepodge of high-profile politicians and even a handful of lesser-known targets who could become rising stars for the party.
“I think part of it is an insurance policy. I think part of it is also acknowledging that a lot can happen, especially as we’re seeing sort of the walls close in around Trump,” Julie Alderman Boudreau, American Bridge’s presidential research director, told the outlet. “We’ve acknowledged Trump as a candidate. And I think it’d be foolish to say he’s not the front-runner, but at the same time, there’s going to be a contest. We might as well get ready.”
Unsurprisingly, the list contains names such as former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, two of the party’s top contenders. However, Democrats have also set their eyes on “Never Trump” Republicans who have teased a presidential run, such as Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) — two of the former president’s most public adversaries.
American Bridge also included some lesser-known Republican names, such as Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, who have only waded into the national spotlight occasionally but are popular within their states.
In total, the list contains eight governors, seven senators, five former officeholders (including Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence), and one House Republican. The contenders were chosen based on actions taken by the possible candidates, including campaigning for midterm candidates in early-vote states, hiring political staff members, and attempting to garner national headlines.
However, the group also sought to focus on Republicans who have toed the line of winning the favor of establishment Republicans while avoiding the ire of the former president.
“The bar is below the surface level,” Alderman Boudreau said. “Has Liz Cheney done the right thing by serving the Jan. 6 committee and speaking the truth? Yes. But that can’t be the only qualifier. She’s still the person who put out a statement the day that Roe got overturned.”
Here’s a full list of the candidates:
Former President Donald Trump
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz
Former Vice President Mike Pence
Florida Sen. Rick Scott
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem
Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin
South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott
Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley
Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton
Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson
Utah Sen. Mitt Romney