It’s an age-old tradition among White House hopefuls – traveling to the crucial states that kick off the presidential nominating calendar to help fellow party members running in the upcoming midterm elections – with the added bonus of making friends that could come in handy later .
And it’s playing out once again in 2021.
Former Vice President Mike Pence, who may run for the White House in 2024, heads to New Hampshire this week to help raise money for the GOP in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state, which will likely be home to key Senate and House races in the 2022 midterms where congressional Republicans aim to flip blue seats red.
POMPEO RETURN TRIP TO IOWA SPARKING MORE 2024 SPECULATION
Three other possible GOP presidential contenders – former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Sens. Rick Scott of Florida and Tim Scott of South Carolina – have already traveled to Iowa, the state whose caucuses kick off the presidential nominating season, to help raise money for Iowa Republicans. The state will likely see a couple of heated House showdowns next year, and possibly a competitive Senate race if longtime GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley retires.
Campaigning for Republicans in next year’s elections could pay dividends when the next White House race officially gets underway following the 2022 midterms.
“It’s a strategy that a number of presidential candidates have used over the years, traveling to early primary and caucus states ostensibly to help Republicans but really make friends, lay the groundwork for White House campaigns,” noted longtime GOP strategist Jim Merrill.
Merrill, a veteran of numerous Republican presidential campaigns who’s based in New Hampshire, added that “these early moves make it clear once again that New Hampshire and Iowa are going to be pivotal to determining who our next president is going to be.”
Iowa GOP chair Jeff Kaufmann told Fox News earlier this year that “I have probably had more interest in our regional events than I have had the previous two presidential cycles that I have been the chair.”
“I would say there’s a lot more interest here than meets the eye,” Kaufmann said, teasing that there could be plenty more visits by possible 2024 contenders this year. “I’m not toying with you. Stay tuned.”
AS TRUMP TEASES ANOTHER PRESIDENTIAL RUN, OTHER POTENTIAL GOP CONTENDERS START MAKING MOVES
He wasn’t kidding.
Since Kaufmann’s conversation with Fox News, the Iowa GOP announced that two more potential 2024 Republicans – former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who served as ambassador to the United Nations under President Donald Trump, and Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas – are heading to the Hawkeye State in June to help raise money for the state Republican Party.
All this comes as Trump, more than four months removed from the Oval Office, remains extremely popular with the Republican base and retains incredible clout over GOP politicians. Trump aims to continue playing a kingmaker’s role in Republican primaries during the 2022 cycle as he continues to flirt with a 2024 presidential run to try and return to the White House.
The early polling data clearly shows that if the nomination race were held today, the former president would be the overwhelming favorite. But while Trump’s teasing of a 2024 run is making other potential GOP presidential contenders cautious, it’s not stopping them from making the early moves and calls necessary to prepare for the next White House cycle.
REPUBLICAN POLLSTER SAYS GOP MADE UP OF THESE ‘FIVE TRIBES’
Longtime GOP consultant David Carney highlighted that with Trump mulling a bid to return to the White House, it’s a far different scenario than the wide-open fields for the GOP presidential nominations in 2008, 2012 and 2016.
But Carney, a veteran of Republican presidential campaigns for three decades, said: “I don’t think any serious candidate would be scared off because it’s four years. No one knows what’s really going to happen with the president. I don’t see it having much effect right now.”
And separate from the early state stops, there’s plenty of action going on behind the scenes.
“A lot of potential 2024 candidates are picking up friends in the ultra-activist category. They’re not making waves, they not making news headlines, they just talking on the phone and communicating, getting things set up,” New Hampshire Institute of Politics Executive Director Neil Levesque noted.
With the early moves underway, here’s a look at some of the potential 2024
Go To The SourceRead More