As Trump Says He'll Run Again In 2024, Potential Competitors Gather During A GOP"Cattle Call"

As Trump Says He’ll Run Again In 2024, Potential Competitors Gather During A GOP”Cattle Call”

This week, former President Trump said he would run for president again in 2024, but that probably won’t clear the field for the Republican nomination.

This weekend, some of Trump‘s most well-known potential GOP rivals will meet in Las Vegas for what is being called the first major Republican “cattle call” in the growing race for the White House. Last month, Fox News was the first to report that some of the biggest names in the GOP who are likely or possible White House candidates will speak at the annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC).

The meeting started Thursday night at the Venetian Hotel Resort and Casino with speeches from Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, whose term was up, and Chris Christie, who was governor of New Jersey and ran for president in 2016.

On Friday and Saturday, speakers include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who was Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, and Sens. Ted Cruz, Rick Scott, and Tim Scott. Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia, who some people see as a possible White House candidate, was supposed to speak at the conference, but he didn’t show up after the deadly shootings at the University of Virginia on Sunday.

“This weekend’s Republican Jewish Coalition Annual Leadership Meeting, also known as the “kosher cattle call,” will be the biggest and best political event of the year,” RJC national political director Sam Markstein told Fox News. “We will once again welcome key GOP leaders to Las Vegas.”

Markstein said that the “RJC will be celebrating the Republicans taking over the U.S. House of Representatives and firing Nancy Pelosi, increasing the number of Jewish Republicans in Congress, and getting the largest share of the Jewish vote in a generation in the midterm elections, including a record-breaking level of support in key states like Florida.”

As Trump Says He'll Run Again In 2024, Potential Competitors Gather During A GOP"Cattle Call"
As Trump Says He’ll Run Again In 2024, Potential Competitors Gather During A GOP”Cattle Call”

The RJC’s annual leadership meeting brings together the country’s top Republican leaders, officials, donors, and activists. Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who recently said he wouldn’t run for president in 2024, and House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is trying to replace Democrat Nancy Pelosi as House speaker, will also speak at this year’s event.

Trump, on the other hand, will not be there in person. Last year, he spoke to the RJC crowd through a recorded speech. Fox News was told by RJC officials that the former president will talk live to the crowd via satellite on Saturday morning. Fox News heard at the start of the week from people in Trump’s political circle that some of the former president’s top aides saw the early 2024 announcement as a way to get rid of some possible rivals for the nomination.

The head of a super PAC that supports Trump, Taylor Budowich, said in a statement to Fox News on Thursday that “President Trump is the most powerful political figure in the United States. Prospects of a field of untested challengers who are all being recruited by global power brokers and billionaires can’t bring the GOP together or save the country. President Trump is the only Republican leader who will take on the corruption, keep his promises, and bring back the glory of the United States.”

Two years after losing to President Biden in the 2020 presidential election, Trump is still the most popular and influential politician in the GOP. He is also the most aggressive grassroots fundraiser, and early polls for the 2024 GOP nomination show that he is still in the lead.

But voices of discontent are growing within the Republican Party as more insiders blame Trump for losses in the 2018 midterms (when the GOP lost the House majority), the 2020 election (when Republicans lost the White House and the Senate majority), and the 2022 midterms (when an expected red wave failed to materialize). Also, Trump’s reputation among party leaders seems to be at its lowest point since the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Even though Trump has been through rough times before and shown that people who said he wouldn’t make it were wrong, some top Republicans laugh at the idea that a Trump announcement would make other possible candidates drop out of the race.

In an interview at the Republican Governors Association winter meeting in Orlando, Florida, just before Trump’s 2024 kick-off event, GOP Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire said that the former president isn’t fit to be president again “really making an announcement when he was politically at his weakest. We just lost this election badly. You could say that he has never been less powerful in politics.”

“It’s really an announcement from a defensive position,” the governor said. “There will still be a lot of people in this race, but most likely not until late 2023. Between now and then, there will be a lot of political change. We still have a long way to go before we start making real progress toward 2024.” When asked if he would run for president himself in 2024, Sununu said, “I don’t rule out anything, ever,” but he stressed that “my priority is New Hampshire and getting things for the state.”

Hogan is another Republican leader who speaks out against Trump. At the RGA meeting, he told Fox News that Trump’s announcement “doesn’t really affect me,” but he added, “I think it may affect a lot of other people’s decisions.”

Long-time Republican consultants with years of experience in Iowa and New Hampshire, the two states that start the nomination process for the Republican presidential candidate, predict a tough fight for the nomination. Based in New Hampshire Jim Merrill, who has worked on many GOP presidential campaigns, said that with Trump in the race, “you might end up with 6–10 candidates instead of 12–16.”

But he added that “you’re going to have a robust field. I don’t think he’s [Trump] clearing anybody out. The Republican Party has lost the last three elections, so it’s clear that people will want to hear from other people. I think it’s important to have a competitive primary, and I think you’ll get one… I think that New Hampshire will be in play over the next few months, and that many candidates will work hard to win votes here.”

David Kochel, a longtime Republican consultant, said that Trump “is clearly the heavyweight,” but the former president “is not going to clear the field.” Kochel, who has worked on many Republican presidential campaigns in Iowa and across the country, said “I think some people will say they won’t run if Trump is elected. But he will have one or more serious opponents who will try to beat him… I think we’ll probably know who’s really going to get in by the end of the first quarter of 2023.”

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