(Reuters) -Five Republican candidates are seeking to challenge former U.S. President Donald Trump for the party’s nomination in the November 2024 presidential contest to take on President Joe Biden, a Democrat who is running for reelection.
Here is a list of the Republican Party’s leading candidates:
Trump has embraced his indictments in four separate criminal cases – unprecedented for a former American president – and leveraged them to boost his popularity among Republicans and raise funds, helping to make him the Republican frontrunner with 61% in the latest Reuters/Ipsos polling.
Trump, 77, has called the indictments a political witch hunt to thwart his pursuit of a second four-year term, an assertion that the Justice Department has denied. If elected again, Trump has vowed revenge against his perceived enemies and has adopted increasingly authoritarian language, including saying he would not be a dictator except “on day one.”
He has promised other sweeping changes, including overhauling the federal civil service with loyalists and imposing tougher immigration policies such as mass deportations and ending birthright citizenship. He has also promised to gut Obamacare health insurance and impose harsher curbs on trade with China.
A former South Carolina governor and Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, Haley, 51, has emphasized her relative youth compared to Biden, 81, and Trump, as well as her background as the daughter of Indian immigrants.
Haley has gained a reputation in the Republican Party as a solid conservative who has the ability to address issues of gender and race in a more credible fashion than many of her peers. She has also pitched herself as a stalwart defender of American interests abroad.
She earned 12% support among Republicans, according to the Reuters/Ipsos survey. In state-level polls, Haley has typically led rival Ron DeSantis in South Carolina and New Hampshire, where she has secured Governor Chris Sununu’s endorsement.
The Florida governor has positioned himself to the right of Trump on several key social issues such as abortion, but his campaign has struggled to gain traction and he remains 50 percentage points behind the former president in the Reuters/Ipsos December poll with 11%.
DeSantis, 45, has fired staff and rebooted his campaign several times, but those steps have done little to boost his candidacy.
His campaign says it is focused on stopping Trump in Iowa, where the party will hold its first nominating contest in January. He got a lift on Nov. 6 when Iowa’s popular governor, Kim Reynolds, endorsed him, and rose slightly in a recent statewide poll.
A former biotechnology investor and executive, Ramaswamy, 38, started a company in 2022 to pressure firms to abandon environmental, social, and corporate governance initiatives. The political outsider has stoked grassroots chatter as a potential alternative to Trump but has failed to gain traction with just 7% support in the Reuters/Ipsos survey.
Ramaswamy is a fervent supporter of the former president, and has drawn his rivals’ ire for his verbal attacks at candidate debates. He has also voiced support for conspiracy theories, including suggesting that Trump supporters’ Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol was an inside job, and has pledged to pardon Trump if elected.
Christie, 61, advised Trump’s 2020 White House campaign, but became a vocal critic of the former president after the Jan. 6 attack, and has stepped up his verbal attacks as Trump faced a growing number of criminal charges.
The former New Jersey governor and federal prosecutor has said he is increasingly convinced Trump will be convicted, and has cast himself as one of the few Republicans willing to directly take on Trump over his actions rather than appease him.
Christie saw just 2% support in the latest poll.
The former Arkansas governor launched his bid for the White House in April with a call for Trump to step aside to deal with the former president’s first indictment. Hutchinson, 73, has touted his experience leading his deeply conservative state as proof he can deliver on policies Republican voters care about, citing tax cuts and job creation initiatives.
Hutchinson only qualified for the first Republican debate and saw no support in the Reuters/Ipsos December poll.
(Compiled by the Washington newsroom; writing by Susan Heavey; editing by Jonathan Oatis)