The 2024 presidential primaries are underway, and the race for the White House is heating up.
Former President Trump became the first candidate to jump into the contest when he announced in November 2022 that he would seek to reclaim his old job. Trump’s former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley challenged her onetime boss three months later, underscoring a growing willingness within the GOP to confront Trump.
The competition narrowed to just Trump and Haley after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) dropped out of the race following the Iowa caucus.
Trump remains the front-runner, with a sizable lead over Haley.
The Democratic field includes President Biden and two long-shot candidates. Despite polls showing voters have concerns about his age, Biden announced last year that he was running for four more years to “finish the job.”
Editor’s note: This list will be updated as more candidates leave the presidential race.
Last updated: Feb. 29, 11:40 a.m.
After the 2022 midterm elections, Biden said that he “intended” to seek another term, and he followed through in a three-minute video posted on his Twitter account, telling viewers that “this is not a time to be complacent.”
But Biden seems to be facing at least some skepticism from Democrats. Polling has consistently shown that many Democrats and voters overall do not want Biden to run for reelection. He has also received backlash from at least some members of his party for his administration’s handling of the war between Israel and Hamas, which sparked an effort by Democrats to vote against Biden in the Michigan primary in February.
But an overwhelming majority of Democrats have said they would support Biden if he became the nominee.
Some have been concerned with polls that show the president neck and neck, or falling behind, Trump amid concerns over his age.
Phillips joined the race in late October after months of speculation over a Biden primary challenge. The Minnesota congressman filed his paperwork on the last possible day.
“I think President Biden has done a spectacular job for our country. But it’s not about the past,” Phillips said in a CBS News interview launching his campaign. “This is an election about the future.”
A moderate, Phillips has gone after Biden’s record on immigration policy and the economy, specifically inflation.
Biden advocates have downplayed the threat posed by the little-known congressman.
“The stakes are too high in this election — especially for Black voters,” said Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, who is on a Biden campaign advisory board, to focus on a “vanity project rather than what’s best for our party and our country.”
Williamson became the first Democrat to launch a primary challenge to Biden when she formally announced her second bid for the White House last March. She failed to surpass low single digits in the polls in the first few states to vote and dropped out in February.
But Williamson took a rare step in reentering the race later that month, arguing that the country was “watching a car crash in slow motion.” She said she originally suspended her campaign because she was losing the horserace, but “something so much more important than the horse race is at stake here. And we must respond.”
She expressed optimism about her chances to win shortly before kicking off her run, noting in an online post that many did not expect Trump to win in 2016.
She and other rivals to Biden hoped that his absence from the New Hampshire primary ballot would give her campaign fuel, but she received less than 5 percent of the vote in the Granite State, well behind the incumbent, who easily won through a write-in campaign.
Williamson’s campaign has faltered since the launch, with multiple waves of significant senior staff turnover. She criticized the Democratic National Committee for not holding primary debates with Biden and his challengers, arguing it was undemocratic and that the committee was working to ensure Biden won.
Williamson, a self-help author, ran for president for the first time in 2020 but dropped out before the primaries began.
Trump launched his third bid for the White House just a week after the 2022 midterm elections, making him the first major candidate out of the gate.
His campaign got off to a relatively sleepy start. Trump didn’t make his first true campaign swings until late January 2023, when he stopped in New Hampshire and South Carolina, two early primary states that handed Trump some of his first wins in the 2016 nominating contest.
But Trump has dominated the rest of the Republican field and appears very likely to clinch his third straight GOP presidential nomination.
Trump chose not to attend any the race’s primary debates, claiming that the entire primary process is unnecessary, and had mostly turned his attention to the general election.
Much of his campaign has focused on the former president’s legal troubles. He has spent much of the campaign in and out of courtrooms, between proceedings in Washington and Georgia and multiple civil trials in New York City.
Haley, a former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador, launched her presidential campaign in February 2023, becoming the first Republican to challenge Trump for the nomination.
In announcing her campaign, Haley pitched her candidacy as an opportunity to install a “new generation of leadership” at the helm of the Republican Party.
Despite lingering questions about whether she could truly compete in the 2024 primary, Haley grew a notable base of support over time, overtaking DeSantis for the race’s second most popular candidate and becoming the main Trump alternative.
But despite stepping up her criticisms of Trump recently for comments concerning NATO and for his cognitive abilities, Haley has fallen short of victory in each of the early states to vote.
Haley’s campaign has employed a strategy of focusing heavily on retail politics in the early contest states, which her allies say is a strength of hers. She centered much of her early campaigning around New Hampshire to try to give her campaign a boost, but she lost the state in a head-to-head match-up by 10 points.
Haley has still vowed to continue in the race until at least Super Tuesday. She has pointed to the decently significant number of voters that have not voted for Trump in the early states as evidence of discontent with him as the potential nominee.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
The nephew of former President John F. Kennedy and son of former Attorney General Robert Kennedy launched his run for the Democratic nomination on April 19. But he chose to change his path to the White House in October, launching an independent bid.
Kennedy has advocated for environmental causes throughout his life but has become mostly known as a prominent anti-vaccine activist. He founded a nonprofit organization called Children’s Health Defense that has promoted anti-vaccine stances.
He pushed back against a “corrupt merger of state and corporate power” seeking to “poison our children and our people with chemicals and pharmaceutical drugs” during his announcement.
Much of Kennedy’s campaign has been focused on government skepticism, specifically against the government response to COVID-19 and the COVID vaccine.
While Kennedy is not considered a threat to win the presidency, an independent campaign could significantly impact the election’s outcome. Early polling has shown that Kennedy could draw more votes from Trump supporters than Biden supporters, tipping the scales toward the president.
West, a prominent progressive academic, jumped into the presidential race with a People’s Party bid in June. However, he quickly changed affiliation to the Green Party and later to a nonparty independent campaign.
“I enter in the quest for truth, I enter in the quest for justice, and the presidency is just one vehicle to pursue that truth and justice — what I’ve been trying to do all of my life,” he said at his campaign announcement.
He explained his third party choice, claiming “neither political party wants to tell the truth about Wall Street, about Ukraine, about the Pentagon, about big tech.”
The campaign has concerned some progressives, worried that he could pull votes away from Biden.
The Biden campaign has effectively ignored West’s challenge.
Former 2016 Green Party nominee Stein announced she will again seek the party’s blessing for the 2024 race in early November.
Seen as a surprise, Stein’s bid fills the Green Party vacancy previously occupied by West.
“Our democracy is on life support,” Stein wrote on X, formerly Twitter, previewing a Nov. 21 campaign kickoff.
“Belief in our political system is at historic lows and the number of Americans who feel that neither establishment party represents them is at a record high. We need real choices on the ballot, because without freedom of choice in elections, there is no democracy. It’s time to revive the promise of democracy.”
Stein wrote on her website that she is entering the presidential race “to offer people a choice outside the failed two-party system, so we can put a pro-worker, anti-war, climate emergency agenda front and center in this election and on the ballot in November.”
Her 2016 bid brought criticism from Democrats, who viewed the candidacy as damaging to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Clinton narrowly lost the presidential election, with some state margins falling under the number of votes Stein received.
The Florida governor ended months of speculation about his presidential ambitions when he filed to run for the GOP presidential nomination in late May.
DeSantis attempted to situate himself as an alternative choice to Trump, with policies similar to that of the Trump administration but without the drama that some opponents argue follows the former president.
He also positioned himself as a leader in battles over a wide range of cultural issues, including those concerning diversity, the LGBTQ community and free speech.
DeSantis appeared to be closely following behind Trump in the polls toward the end of last year, but Trump expanded his lead over other Republicans, and DeSantis failed to capitalize on the early momentum.
DeSantis suspended his campaign Jan. 21, two days before the New Hampshire primary. He endorsed Trump.
“Following our second-place finish in Iowa, we’ve prayed and deliberated on our way forward,” DeSantis said in a video message posted on X, a few hours ahead of an event he had scheduled in New Hampshire. “If there was anything I could do to produce a favorable outcome, more campaign stops, more interviews, I would do it. But I can’t ask our supporters to volunteer their time and donate their resources if we don’t have a clear path to victory. Accordingly, I am today suspending my campaign.”
“It’s clear to me that a majority of Republican primary voters want to give Donald Trump another chance,” the governor continued. “While I have had disagreements with Donald Trump such as on the coronavirus pandemic and his elevation of Anthony Fauci, Trump is superior to the current incumbent Joe Biden. That is clear.”
Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced his run for the GOP nomination on April 2 during an interview with ABC News’s Jonathan Carl on “This Week.” He held a formal event to launch his bid in his home state of Arkansas later that month.
He said at the time that he decided to run because he believes he can be a leader that appeals to “the best of America, and not simply to our worst instincts.”
He called for the Republican Party to move on from Trump and said in the aftermath of criminal charges being filed against Trump in New York that the former president should drop out of the race to avoid being a “huge distraction” from the contest.
Hutchinson set himself up as an anti-Trump candidate but failed to capitalize on the position. He decided to leave the race in January after garnering about 0.2 percent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses.
“I stand by the campaign I ran,” he said in a statement. “I answered every question, sounded the warning to the GOP about the risks in 2024 and presented hope for our country’s future.”
Ramaswamy, a politically unknown biotech entrepreneur, declared his candidacy Feb. 21.
Nicknamed the “CEO of Anti-Woke, Inc.” in a December 2022 profile from The New Yorker, Ramaswamy railed against the “woke” left’s focus on diversity and issues like the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.
His campaign gained some traction in the polls for a time, but he was unable to keep up with the top candidates and dropped out in January following a disappointing showing in the Iowa caucuses. He also announced at the time that he was endorsing Trump for the Republican nomination.
“As I’ve said since the beginning, there are two America First candidates in this race. And earlier tonight I called Donald Trump to tell him that I — congratulate him on his victory, and now going forward, you will have my full endorsement for the presidency,” Ramaswamy said.
He often gave praise to Trump and had called on the other candidates to commit to pardoning Trump for the federal charges he is facing.
The former New Jersey governor was previously a close Trump ally — he helped the former president prepare for his 2020 debates against Biden — but he has since become one of the former president’s sharpest GOP critics.
He officially launched his second bid for the White House, the first having come in 2016, in June. He made publicly challenging Trump one of the major strategies for his run.
Christie centered his electoral strategy around New Hampshire, where he polled as high as second place at one point. But he struggled to hold on to that position and dropped out in January, just a few days before the Iowa caucuses.
He said at the town hall announcing his decision that he did not see a path for him to win the nomination but would work to ensure that Trump is not reelected. He also criticized his fellow competitors, like DeSantis and Haley, for being unwilling to attack Trump as he has.
Christie’s announcement also received attention for comments he made before the town hall on a hot mic, saying that Haley is “gonna get smoked” in the race against Trump and DeSantis “called me petrified.”
Burgum, the governor of North Dakota, declared his candidacy for president during a June speech in Fargo. He said at the time that the country needed new leadership and he was not deterred by his initial low polling numbers and the large lead that Trump had over the other candidates in the race.
But Burgum failed to gain significant traction in the crowded field for his long-shot bid and dropped out of the race in early December. He was able to qualify for the first two GOP presidential debates but fell short of meeting the requirements for the third debate.
He polled no higher than 1 percent or 2 percent mostly.
In his statement announcing the end of his candidacy, he slammed the Republican National Committee for its requirements for candidates to make the debate stage and taking power away from voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.
“It is not their mission to reduce competition and restrict fresh ideas by ‘narrowing the field’ months before the Iowa caucuses or the first in the nation New Hampshire primary,” Burgum said.
Most Republicans viewed Scott favorably, according to Morning Consult polling. But he polled in the mid-single digits at most in surveys of Republican candidates.
That led the senator to cut his campaign short in November, seen as an unexpectedly early exit for a campaign that launched with high hopes.
“I love America more today than I did on May 22, but when I go back to Iowa, it will not be as a presidential candidate. I am suspending my campaign,” Scott said in a Fox News interview. “I think the voters who are the most remarkable people on the planet have been really clear that they’re telling me: Not now, Tim.”
Scott, the only Black Republican senator, specifically sought to strike an optimistic tone at his campaign launch event, pointing to the future as a chance for the country to grow.
“They say opportunity in America is a myth and faith in America is a fraud. But the truth of my life disproves their lies,” he said. “The good news is all we need to do is turn around.”
His campaign shifted to go “all-in” on Iowa in October, an attempt to pool resources and make an impact in the early caucus state. But fundraising struggled to keep up with spending and he barely qualified for the third GOP debate due to falling fundraising numbers.
The former vice president officially joined the race in June after months of hinting that he was considering a White House bid. With his announcement, he became the first former vice president to run against the president he served for a party’s nomination in more than 80 years.
Pence tried to emphasize his accomplishments during the Trump administration and from his prior service as governor of Indiana and in the House while distancing himself from Trump as a figure and the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. He said during his campaign launch event that Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election should be “disqualifying.”
He mainly focused his campaign on Iowa, which has a strong base of evangelical voters, making his faith key to his campaign and emphasizing the importance of the issue of abortion.
After polling near 10 percent support and as one of the more popular Trump alternatives early in the campaign, Pence eventually fell behind Haley and Ramaswamy.
He suspended his campaign in late October after fundraising numbers dwindled and the deadline to qualify for the third GOP debate approached.
Elder, a conservative radio talk show host, announced he was running for president during an appearance on Fox News in April. Elder unsuccessfully challenged California Gov. Gavin Newsom during the failed recall attempt in 2021.
A long-shot candidate, he never made a significant impression on the race. He missed the first and second GOP debates, and he dropped out in late October.
The two-term mayor of Miami kicked off his run for the White House in June, becoming the third Florida resident to run for the office after Trump and DeSantis.
“America’s so-called leaders confuse being loud with actually leading,” he said in his campaign launch video. “All Washington wants to do is fight with each other instead of fighting for the people that put them in office.”
Suarez was the first Hispanic candidate to join the race and highlighted his tenure as mayor lowering taxes and reducing homelessness as a demonstration of his accomplishments.
But Suarez couldn’t overcome low name recognition and an increasingly large field. He failed to make the first GOP debate and dropped out of the race shortly after, becoming the first candidate to do so.
The former Texas congressman joined the race for the Republican nomination for president in June.
Known as a moderate Republican during his time in the House, Hurd attempted to position himself as a candidate who can bring people together and tone down intense partisanship.
He criticized both Biden and Trump during his campaign launch video, saying Biden either is unable or refuses to solve the country’s problems like inflation and homelessness and calling Trump a “lawless, selfish, failed politician.”
But Hurd failed to gather enough momentum to stay in the race and dropped out in early October.
He endorsed Haley, saying the former U.N. ambassador “has shown a willingness to articulate a different vision for the country than Donald Trump and has an unmatched grasp on the complexities of our foreign policy.”