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2024 Watch: Meet the potential GOP presidential contenders

Source image: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/2024-watch-meet-potential-gop-presidential-contenders

Former President Donald Trump’s expected to make what he’s advertising as a “special announcement” on Tuesday night, which will likely ignite the 2024 White House race.

Trump, nearly two years since his 2020 presidential election defeat at the hands of President Biden, remains the most popular and influential politician in the GOP, the most ferocious fundraiser among the grassroots, and the overwhelming current leader in early 2024 GOP nomination polling.

But his 2024 announcement, according to a host of Republican leaders and strategists, is not expected to clear the field of potential contenders for the GOP nomination.

Voices of discontent are growing inside the party, thanks to a growing chorus of criticism blaming Trump for setbacks 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).

HOW A TRUMP ANNOUNCEMENT WOULD IMMEDIATELY IMPACT THE 2024 RACE

Former President Donald Trump speaks at Mar-a-lago on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Former President Donald Trump speaks at Mar-a-lago on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
(AP )

Longtime leading Republican fundraiser David Tamasi, who bundled for Trump in 2016 and 2020 but no longer supports the former president, told Fox News that “while there might be some pockets of financial support for him,” top dollar donors ” are tired of losing.”

And popular Republican Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, who cruised to re-election last week by double digits, emphasized that a Trump 2024 announcement “does not clear the field.” 

WHAT TRUMP TOLD FOX NEWS ABOUT HIS POTENTIAL 2024 ANNOUNCEMENT

Sununu, who hasn’t entirely ruled out a White House run of his own, argued that “anyone who wants to run is still going to run.”

With that in mind, here’s a look at the other major potential contenders in the burgeoning 2024 Republican presidential nomination race.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

After narrowly winning election as Florida governor in 2018, Republican Ron DeSantis won re-election last week in a landslide.

DeSantis, who at age 44 is 32 years younger than Trump, won his first election as governor thanks to a major assist from the then-president. But he’s become a force of his own as he’s built a political brand that stretches from coast to coast.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida waves to the crowd during an election night watch party at the Convention Center in Tampa, Florida, on November 8, 2022.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida waves to the crowd during an election night watch party at the Convention Center in Tampa, Florida, on November 8, 2022.
(GIORGIO VIERA/AFP via Getty Images)

Florida’s governor has seen his popularity soar among conservatives across the country the past two and a half years, courtesy of his forceful pushback against coronavirus pandemic restrictions and his aggressive actions as a culture wars warrior, as he’s targeted the media and corporations.

While DeSantis for over a year has routinely discounted talk of a 2024 White House bid as he stayed laser focused on his gubernatorial re-election, he potentially dropped some hints last week during his Election Night victory speech.

“We have rewritten the political map,” DeSantis declared. “While our country flounders due to failed leadership in Washington, Florida is on the right track.”

ELECTION DAY 2022 IS OVER, HERE COMES THE 2024 WHITE HOUSE RACE

And he took in the scene as a chant of “two more years! Two more years,” broke out among supporters urging the governor to consider a national run in 2024.

As DeSantis seen his poll numbers in 2024 Republican presidential polls start to rival Trump, and his fundraising prowess match that of the former president, Trump in recent months has targeted the Florida governor. And Trump has turned up the volume on his attacks on DeSantis in the days just before and after the midterms, and debuted a new nickname for the governor: “Ron DeSanctimonius.”

DeSantis has refused to take the bait, electing not to engage with Trump’s taunts.

If DeSantis decides to launch a 2024 campaign, don’t expect an announcement anytime soon. A source in the governor’s wider political orbit tells Fox News any announcement wouldn’t happen until after Florida’s legislative session ends in May.

Former Vice President Mike Pence

Hours before Trump delivers his “special announcement” on the 2024 campaign, his former right-hand man’s much anticipated memoir is making headlines.

In “So Help Me God,” former Vice President Mike Pence showcases successes of the Trump-Pence administration, but also spotlights new criticisms of Trump that will generate plenty of headlines.

Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks to reporters during a visit to the Iowa State Fair, Friday, Aug. 19, 2022, in Des Moines, Iowa. 

Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks to reporters during a visit to the Iowa State Fair, Friday, Aug. 19, 2022, in Des Moines, Iowa. 
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

And in his first major book tour interview, on Monday on the eve of the publishing of the memoir, Pence revisited the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by right wing extremists aiming to upend congressional certification of Biden’s 2020 victory over Trump, which Pence was overseeing.

“The president’s words [on 6 January 2021] were reckless and his actions were reckless. The president’s words that day at the rally endangered me and my family and everyone at the Capitol building,” Pence told ABC News.

FIRST ON FOX: GET READY FOR THE FIRST MAJOR 204 GOP PRESIDENTIAL CATTLE CALL

The former vice president, as part of his crisscrossing the country the past year and a half on behalf of Republicans running in last week’s elections, made numerous stops in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, the first four states to vote in the GOP presidential nominating calendar. Pence, a former congressman and Indiana governor, has been making the moves, such as building relationships in the early voting presidential primary and caucus states, that often precede the launch of an actual White House campaign.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Pompeo, like Pence, has been a very frequent visitor to the early voting states the past year and a half.

“Whether we’ll decide to get in the race and run for president, I can’t answer,” Pompeo, an Army officer stationed in Germany during the Cold War who was later elected to Congress from Kansas before serving as CIA director and America’s top diplomat during the Trump administration, told Fox News during a stop in New Hampshire in September.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo keynotes the Hillsborough County, New Hampshire GOP's annual Lincoln-Reagan fundraising dinner, in Manchester, N.H. on April 7, 2022.

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo keynotes the Hillsborough County, New Hampshire GOP’s annual Lincoln-Reagan fundraising dinner, in Manchester, N.H. on April 7, 2022.
(Fox News )

But he emphasized “we are doing the things that one would do to be ready to make such an announcement and then to engage with the American people on the ideas that we believe matter,” Pompeo emphasized. 

And Pompeo’s political action committee has gone up with ads in the early voting states, another sign he’s seriously mulling a White House bid.

Former ambassador Nikki Haley 

Haley, a former two-term South Carolina governor who served as ambassador to the United Nations during the first half of the Trump presidency, is another Trump administration alumni who was very busy during the 2022 campaigning on behalf of fellow Republicans and making numerous stops in the early primary and caucus states.

Former ambassador to the United Nations and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley headlines a campaign event for Republican Rep. Nancy Mace in Summerville, South Carolina on June 12, 2022 

Former ambassador to the United Nations and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley headlines a campaign event for Republican Rep. Nancy Mace in Summerville, South Carolina on June 12, 2022 
(Fox News)

Haley, like Pence and Pompeo, has demurred when asked if she’ll launch a presidential campaign. But she reiterates “we’ll figure it out. But you know what I’ve said — I’ve never lost a race. I’m not going to start now. If there’s place for me, we’ll put a 100% in, and we’ll finish it.”

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin

Youngkin was a politician on demand on the campaign trail this summer and autumn, helping fellow Republicans running in the midterms.

Youngkin energized Republicans nationwide a year ago, as the first-time candidate who hailed from the party’s business wing edged out former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe to become the first GOP candidate in a dozen years to win a gubernatorial election in the one-time swing state that had trended towards the Democrats over the past decade.

Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia speaks on behalf of GOP Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia at a Kemp re-election rally on Sept. 27, 2022 in Alpharetta, Georgia

Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia speaks on behalf of GOP Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia at a Kemp re-election rally on Sept. 27, 2022 in Alpharetta, Georgia
(Fox News)

The governor’s 2022 travels have sparked plenty of speculation regarding his potential national ambitions in 2024.

Youngkin emphasized in a recent Fox News interview that “we’ll have to see how things pan out” as he reiterated that he’s “incredibly flattered by this discussion” and “the fact that my name is in the national mix is pretty overwhelming.”

Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina

Scott, a rising star in the GOP, one of the party’s top fundraisers, and the only Black Republican in the Senate, easily cruised to re-election last week to what he’s said will be his final six-year term in the Senate.

While Scott’s repeatedly demurred when asked about 2024, he raised eyebrows last week at his re-election victory celebration by telling the story of how took his grandfather to the polls in 2012, and that his grandfather proudly voted for him as well as for Democratic President Barack Obama, the nation’s first Black president.

Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina meets voters in Summerville, South Carolina, in November 2021.

Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina meets voters in Summerville, South Carolina, in November 2021.
(Tim Scott reelection campaign )

“I wish he had lived long enough to see perhaps another man of color elected President of the United States,” Scott said, before adding “but this time let it be a Republican.”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan

The popular term-limited GOP governor of blue state Maryland has been a frequent visitor to New Hampshire this year, as well as making stops in Iowa.

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland signs the iconic wooden eggs before addressing "Politics and Eggs," on Oct. 6, 2022. The speaking series at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics is a must stop for potential or actual White House hopefuls.

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland signs the iconic wooden eggs before addressing “Politics and Eggs,” on Oct. 6, 2022. The speaking series at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics is a must stop for potential or actual White House hopefuls.
(Fox News)

Hogan, a vocal Republican critic of Trump who touts that he’s a “commonsense conservative,” told Fox News earlier this autumn that “I think there are 10 people who want to be the next Donald Trump and I think there may be a different lane” for someone like him.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas

Cruz, the runner-up to Trump in the combustible 2016 GOP presidential nomination race, has consistently not ruled out making another White House run. He’s stopped a handful of times over the past year and a half in the early voting states and has told Fox News and other news organizations that “when I ran in ’16, it was the most fun I’ve had in my life.”

TEXAS, USA - August 5, 2022: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz delivers speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), in Dallas, Texas.

TEXAS, USA – August 5, 2022: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz delivers speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), in Dallas, Texas.
(Fox News Photo/Joshua Comins)

The conservative firebrand from Texas has also said when it comes to deciding on whether he’ll make another White House run, he’ll “want and see” what Trump decides.

Others to keep an eye on

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who was just re-elected last week, is popular with conservatives and Trump’s MAGA loyalists. Pundits view her as a potential contender if Trump decides against running, and a possible running mate if Trump runs. 

Sen. Rick Scott of Florida has repeatedly said he’s running for re-election in 2024. But pundits view the multi-millionaire and the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee this cycle as a potential White House hopeful.

Former two-term Gov. Chris Christie, known as one of the GOP’s best communicators, has no problem speaking publicly about his likely national ambitions, unlike many of the other possible 2024 contenders.

Christie, a 2016 Republican presidential candidate who was the first of Trump’s rivals to endorse him after dropping out of the race, in the wake of the Jan. 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol turned into a very vocal Republican Trump critic.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signs the iconic wooden eggs after speaking at 'Politics and Eggs' at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, on March 21, 2022 in Goffstown, N.H.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signs the iconic wooden eggs after speaking at ‘Politics and Eggs’ at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, on March 21, 2022 in Goffstown, N.H.
(Fox News )

“I’m definitely thinking about it. I haven’t made any final decisions about what I’m going to do or not do and I won’t make any final decision until next year,” Christie told Fox News Digital earlier this autumn.

Sen. Marco Rubio, a veteran of the 2016 GOP presidential nomination firefights with Trump, last week rolled to a large double-digit re-election victory. The senior senator from Florida has consistently not ruled out making another White House run in the future.

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Term-limited Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas is in Iowa on Tuesday and Wednesday. Aides tell Fox News Hutchinson “is thinking about his options for” a presidential run and that the governor “will meet with major political players” during his visit.

Hutchinson made a trip to New Hampshire in the spring and told Fox News this past summer that he wants a role in helping to shape the future of the GOP, which “might lead to a presidential campaign down the road.” 

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/2024-watch-meet-potential-gop-presidential-contenders

Politics

West Virginia House passes bill expanding advocate’s authority

West Virginia’s House of Delegates unanimously passed a bill Wednesday to expand the authority of the state foster care advocate to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect.

Before the 100-member House voted in unison in favor, Deputy House Speaker Republican Matthew Rohrbach said the bill is “really going to help to make this system accountable, which I think is something that everybody in here wants.”

Foster Care Ombudsman Pamela Woodman-Kaehler’s office is located within the Department of Health and Human Resources’ Office of Inspector General. But she works independently as an advocate for foster children and parents, investigating complaints and collecting data about the state’s foster care system.

Her position was created in 2019 when the number of children under state foster care had swelled to about 6,900, up more than 60% from 2015, as the state continued to be ravaged by the national opioid crisis.

WEST VIRGINIA ADVANCES PUBLIC SCHOOL MANDATE ON ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’

She is a former child protective services worker in Harrison County and was the state coordinator for a federally-mandated review panel of the state’s Bureau of Children and Families.

The bill advanced to the Senate Wednesday specifies that Woodman-Kaehler’s office has the authority to investigate deaths, abuse and neglect involving children in the juvenile justice system.

The West Virginia House OKs a bill expanding the states foster care advocates authority. This bill will investigate abuse and neglect allegations.

The West Virginia House OKs a bill expanding the states foster care advocates authority. This bill will investigate abuse and neglect allegations.

The bill also would protect the identities of people providing confidential information during investigations, prohibiting the ombudsman and her staff from being required to disclose information about investigations or identify informants in judicial or administrative proceedings. It makes all memoranda, work product, notes and case files developed and maintained as part of an official investigation confidential, and not subject to discovery, subpoena or other means of legal compulsion.

Woodman-Kaehler told a House Health and Human Resources Committee meeting that the bill would help build trust between her and people reporting abuse and neglect, and encourage more people to come forward with information during sensitive investigations.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“This frees up the ombudsman to give them much more control,” Rohrbach said Wednesday.

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Indiana Gov. Holcomb’s public health expansion passes legislative panel

The Indiana governor’s proposal for a broad expansion of county-level public health programs won its first endorsement from state legislators on Wednesday.

The state Senate’s health committee voted 12-0 in support of a bill laying out the responsibilities that local health departments would have if county officials accept a major increase in state funding being sought by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box, several medical organizations and business groups urged lawmakers to support the plan, pointing to Indiana’s poor national rankings in areas such as smoking, obesity and life expectancy.

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION EXTENDS COVID-19 PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY YET AGAIN

The governor’s plan would direct $100 million in the next state budget year and $200 million in the following year toward boosting Indiana’s county public health department funding from its 45th-place national ranking. The state now directs about $7 million a year to county health departments, which are primarily funded by local taxes.

While county officials would have the option of accepting the money and expanding services, some opponents with grievances over government-ordered COVID-19 precautions told the committee they feared the plan would result in the state health department gaining more authority.

The bill approved by the committee would establish “core public health services” to be provide by county departments. Those would include access to required childhood vaccinations, emergency preparedness, restaurant and sewage system inspections, communicable disease prevention and smoking cessation programs.

Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box speaks alongside Gov. Eric Holcomb on the proposed expansion of the state's public health infrastructure

Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box speaks alongside Gov. Eric Holcomb on the proposed expansion of the state’s public health infrastructure
(AP Photo /Tom Davies)

A commission appointed by Holcomb found that all but about six of Indiana’s 92 counties are spending less than half the national median per person on public health efforts.

“Where you live in Indiana currently determines whether your local health department can provide you the full range of public health services,” Box told the committee.

Leaders of the Republican-dominated Legislature have generally supported Holcomb’s proposal but have not committed to granting his full funding request. Lawmakers might not make that decision until a new state budget plan is completed in April.

Statewide organizations representing county officials told the committee Wednesday they believed local leaders would keep control by deciding whether to opt into the expansion program or maintain state funding levels.

Some county leaders, however, said they believed the expansion would eventually lead to state control of local health departments.

INDIANA AG FIGHTS COVID-19 MISINFORMATION, POINTS FINGER AT GOVERNMENT HEALTH AGENCIES

“I would prefer the state to provide grants on a topic-by-topic basis with local control on whether to accept the grant or not and how we handle that guidance, not mandates, from the state after the COVID destructive mandates,” said Brad Rogers, a Republican county commissioner from northern Indiana’s Elkhart County.

Senators cited concerns about long-term health problems across the state, while plan opponents who spoke focused on issues such as complaints over federal approval of COVID-19 vaccines and Holcomb’s executive orders early in the pandemic for business closures and a face mask mandate. One opponent argued the plan would lead to what he called more government “tyranny.”

Similar grievances were aired to Indiana lawmakers as they debated a proposal last year that failed to win passage aiming to severely limit the COVID-19 vaccine requirements that businesses could impose on employees.

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“We have high infant mortality rates,” Republican Sen. Vaneta Becker of Evansville said as she voted in favor of the health plan Wednesday. “We have high obesity, lots of health issues in the state that need to be addressed.”

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Politics

President Biden’s physical delayed due to travel schedule, White House says

President Biden will receive a physical examination on Feb. 16 after weeks of delays that a spokesperson attributed to a “busy and evolving travel schedule in recent weeks.”

Biden, the oldest president in history, is expected to announce his bid for re-election in the coming weeks. He would be 86-years-old by the end of his second term.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre faced a series of questions on Biden’s physical in the new year and promised a shared report by the end of January.

BIDEN GRABS NBC REPORTER’S HAND AS HE STEPS UNDERNEATH HER UMBRELLA TO ANSWER HER QUESTION

President Biden will receive a physical on Feb. 16 after broken promises from the White House to have one conducted by the end of the past two months.

President Biden will receive a physical on Feb. 16 after broken promises from the White House to have one conducted by the end of the past two months.
(Screenshot/Twitter)

“He will have one before the — by the time the end of this month is out,” Jean-Pierre said in January. “We will share the information. We will have more to share about that before the month is over.”

This followed a promise from Biden himself in November to have a physical conducted by the end of December.

“I’ve gotten my — I will get — part of my physical is already done, and I’ll be getting it before the end of the year,” Biden said.

BIDEN’S FINAL WEEK OF CAMPAIGNING PLAGUED WITH GAFFES: ‘WHAT’S HIS NAME?’

The White House said President Biden's delayed physical is due to his busy travel schedule.

The White House said President Biden’s delayed physical is due to his busy travel schedule.
(Getty Images)

While the White House said the delay is due to his travel schedule in January, Biden spent time at his Delaware properties every weekend that month — 13 days in total. Other travel included Mexico for a summit, then trips to Kentucky, Georgia, Maryland, Virginia, California and New York to tout his policy agenda.

BIDEN DAILY GAFFE AVERAGE: THE PRESIDENT IS BATTING NEARLY A THOUSAND

President Biden last had a physical in November 2021.

President Biden last had a physical in November 2021.
(Shawn Thew/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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Speculations on Biden‘s health follow the delayed physical, consistent mental gaffes and an eight-hour stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in January as first lady Jill Biden had two cancerous skin lesions removed. The president’s last physical was reported in November 2021 and detailed his prescriptions for high blood pressure and blood thinner treatments.

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