GOP 2024 Lineup Getting Clearer in “Shadow Primary”

November’s pivotal midterms are still months away, but the list of GOP contenders jockeying for position for the next presidential election is getting longer. And more clear.

The “shadow primary” is a time for strategizing and getting the lay of the land for prospective contenders, and the intentions of yet unofficial candidates are growing louder. From former Vice President Mike Pence and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley to former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Republican hopefuls are raising their exposure.

The wild cards in the 2024 presidential election are not only unpredictable, but will very likely dictate who contends for the top of the ticket and who instead positions themselves for other roles. Wild card number one is the president himself.

Joe Biden, already the oldest president in U.S. history, has not confirmed his intentions on a second term. Conventional wisdom at one point speculated that Biden would step aside and clear the way for a historic run by Vice President Kamala Harris. That possibility has greatly receded with the missteps and general unpopularity of the VP. And, as the president famously said, he would be “fortunate” to face Trump again.

Speaking of which, the even larger question on the GOP side is the intention of former President Donald Trump. While he is clearly considering another run and increasing his schedule of campaign-style rallies, Trump could also decide on the role of kingmaker instead. And some Republicans like Haley have said they will step aside and support Trump if he runs. The former president will be 78 when he retakes office if he wins in 2024.

Then there’s the GOP contingent from outside the list of former Trump administration officials. Likely none are in a better position than Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who faces an reelection campaign this fall. This positions the governor to stake out more defined positions while concentrating on his own race until the midterms.

Despite the lack of official announcements, there is no doubt that team-building and donor-courting are already in motion. The intentions of the current and former president, however, will likely determine who formally enters the race and who pivots towards other positions.