Donald Trump, the former US president, is making a third consecutive run for the White House. But there is a job vacancy this time: his running mate. No one thinks it will be former vice-president Mike Pence after the pair fell out over the 2020 election and January 6 insurrection. Trump, a 76-year-old straight, white man who needs to broaden his appeal, might look to a person of colour, a woman or a young person for 2024 (or all of the above) – or he might not. Here are 10 potential contenders:
The Fox News host turned up last summer in Iowa, which gets the first say in the Republican presidential nominating process, prompting speculation about his political ambitions. He is a Trump kindred spirit who goads liberals, appeases Russian president Vladimir Putin and promotes the far-right “great replacement” theory that western elites are importing immigrant voters to supplant white people. But Carlson would be sure to turn off moderates and independents.
Some “Make America Great Again” voters torn between the authentic original and his upstart rival want to see them join forces on a dream Maga ticket. Florida governor DeSantis once made a campaign ad in which he read Trump’s book about getting rich, The Art of the Deal, to one of his children and encouraged them to “build the wall” along the US-Mexico border by stacking toy bricks. But Trump has now branded him “Ron DeSanctimonious” and the pair seem too similar to run together: less yin and yang than yin and yin.
The former Democratic congresswoman and presidential candidate is attempting to launch a new career as a rightwing media personality. She campaigned for election-denier Kari Lake and other Republicans in the midterm elections. Her provocative challenges to western orthodoxy towards dictators such as Putin and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad are likely to strike a chord with Trump. He may also decide he needs a female running mate to make himself less toxic to suburban women.
Marjorie Taylor Greene
The far-right congresswoman from Georgia personifies the age of Trumpism with racist, antisemitic and Islamophobic statements, indications of support for political violence and wild conspiracy theories such as the claim that a Jewish-controlled space laser started a California wildfire. She recently suggested that, if she had led the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, the mob would have been armed and victorious in its efforts to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 victory (she later claimed this was “sarcasm”). She has little experience but her pugnacious campaigning style is right up Trump’s street.
The former South Carolina governor was Trump’s first ambassador to the United Nations. She turned against him over the January 6 insurrection but, like many other Republicans, found it easy to forgive him. She also proved willing to campaign for Georgia Senate nominee Herschel Walker despite his glaring incompetence and scandals. Trump’s campaign, meanwhile, might regard the daughter of Sikh immigrants from India as the perfect foil to charges of sexism and racism.
She was the breakout Republican star of the midterms all the way until election day – when she lost the race for governor of Arizona. The charismatic former TV anchor was endorsed by Trump and found a way to repeat his election lies while sounding almost credible. Despite his distaste for losers, Trump has twice welcomed Lake to his Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida since her defeat. It would be no great surprise to hear him say she is straight from “central casting”.
The governor of South Dakota has become another familiar face on the conservative conference and media circuit, railing against targets such as coronavirus pandemic lockdowns and the Chinese Communist party. In July, she told CNN she would support Trump in 2024 and “would be shocked if he asked” her to be his running mate. Noem has experience in elected office and could give Trump a new shot at credibility among Christians, rural Americans and women.
She was unswervingly loyal as Trump’s White House press secretary, championing his agenda and insisting that he was misunderstood by critics. Last month she was elected as governor of Arkansas, following in the footsteps of her father, Mike Huckabee, creator of The Kids Guide to President Trump. Sanders and Huckabee, a former pastor, might help Trump shore up the Christian evangelical vote against potential challengers such as Pence.
The South Carolina senator is said to be eyeing his own run for the presidency. The Trump campaign might regard Scott as a compelling choice, hoping that he would neutralise accusations of racism and rally “Blacks for Trump”. He told the Republican national convention in 2020 that his grandfather “suffered the indignity of being forced out of school as a third-grader to pick cotton and never learned to read or write … Our family went from cotton to Congress in one lifetime.”
Trump prizes loyalty and few have been more loyal than congresswoman Elise Stefanik of New York, the number three Republican in the House of Representatives. Once a moderate, she staunchly defended the former president during his impeachments and declared this year: “I am ultra-Maga. And I’m proud of it.” Shrugging off disappointing midterm results, she was quick to endorse Trump for 2024. He has described her as “a star” and said: “She looks like good talent.”