HomeUS News updateWith Trump running, nearly all Republican senators say no to a presidential...

With Trump running, nearly all Republican senators say no to a presidential bid

WASHINGTON – There’s an old joke that senators look in the mirror and see the president. These days many glasses in the chamber seem to be broken.

Republicans have an open presidential primary in 2024, and the Senate is filled with ultra-ambitious and self-confident politicians, many with national followings and barely-hidden presidential aspirations. Nearly all of them are passing in a White House bid next year, even after former President Donald Trump launched his attempted comeback campaign in November.

“This cycle is shaping up to be very different from every cycle since 2000, where it seemed like half the Senate was campaigning for president,” said Alex Conant, who served as Senator Marco Rubio of Florida in his Senate office. and then the 2016 presidential campaign.

That year, the GOP field was so crowded with senators — Rubio, Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — that Conant missed a candidate forum in New Hampshire where a crop of candidates took to Capitol Hill. had attended. studio. None of them has shown interest in riding this cycle.

Now, a new group of Republican senators rumored to have higher aspirations — Rick Scott of Florida, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Joni Ernst of Iowa — are also bowing out or sitting on the sidelines.

“Every senator has a different reason,” Conant said. “A lot of them are young and they have the luxury of waiting. In 2024, you’re running against a sitting president and a former president, so historically it’s a big hill to climb. It’s not like 2016 when there was an open White House and a wide open GOP race.

Cruz, Hawley and Rick Scott, whose seats are up for grabs in 2024, have opted to seek re-election rather than roll the dice on a White House run.

“I never said I was going to run for president,” said Hawley, 43, who has been steadily raising his national profile with foreign policy speeches and headline-grabbing legislation. “I haven’t visited Iowa or any of these places. That’s why I hope to run for re-election to the Senate,” he said.

Rick Scott simply said, “I’m running for Senate.” When asked if this meant he definitely would not be running for another office in 2024, he replied, “Okay.”

One exception to the Senate trend was Sen. Tim Scott, R.S.C. are heading towards the 2024 presidential election, but have not yet announced a final decision.

Cruz, Trump’s runner-up in the 2016 contest, has been crisscrossing the country stumping and producing chits for fellow Republicans during the 2022 midterm election cycle. But in recent weeks, he has made clear he plans to run for another term in the Senate and help his party regain control of the House.

“It’s going to be an interesting year. I suspect it’s going to be a wild and woolly race,” Cruz, 52, said when asked about former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley jumping into the race. “I look forward to supporting the Republican candidate.”

Mitt Romney at the US Capitol Building
Sen. Mitt Romney, who ran unsuccessfully for the presidency in 2008 and 2012, has no plans to run for re-election.Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images File

Back in 2016, Cruz, Paul and Rubio were freshman senators. Today all three have fancied titles as ranking members on important committees – Cruz on the Commerce Committee, Paul on the Homeland Security Committee and Rubio on the Intelligence Committee. Graham, who won a fourth term in 2020, is the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee.

And the sting of being robbed by Trump that year remained. Despite losing re-election in 2020 and inciting a mob that attacked the Capitol on January 6, 2021, Trump maintains a passionate following on the right, leading the field in most GOP polls and gaining support in Congress.

Trump campaign senior advisor Jason Miller said, “President Trump is the undisputed leader of the Republican Party and is uniquely positioned to defeat Joe Biden, so it only makes sense that so many senators are running their own campaigns instead of running for him.” are supporting.” “We expect the impressive list of senators supporting President Trump to grow in the coming weeks, and we are grateful for their support.”

On the Democratic side, senators are also taking a pass on 2024. Four years ago, seven sitting senators ran for president. They were all defeated by a former senator and one of them became his vice president. Running again with President Joe Biden is a certainty, with his former Senate rival endorsing his re-election.

Republican elites seeking a viable alternative to Trump largely look outside Washington to their protege, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who many believe will run for president.

Governor Ron DeSantis speaks during the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit
Ron DeSantis is expected to challenge former President Donald Trump in 2024.Joe Redl / Getty Images

Other big names with access to big donors, such as former Vice President Mike Pence and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, are also gearing up for the launch.

“Everyone should have a lane. In elementary, if you can’t find your lane, you can’t find your way to get there. Because everybody has to separate themselves, but also get a bunch of voters,” said freshman Sen. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., who has endorsed Trump.

“His voters are his voters – they are going to stay there. They’re not going to budge,” Mullin said. “So I don’t see where anybody else has a way to get there.”

Not everyone subscribes to that view. In Iowa on Wednesday, Tim Scott previewed what his potential presidential campaign might look like, stopping by a tour of listening to “Believe in America” ​​at Drake University and giving the keynote address at the Polk County GOP’s Lincoln Dinner.

Tim Scott, the Senate’s lone black Republican, outlined what he called Democrats’ “blueprint for ruining America” ​​— out-of-control spending and inflation, open borders, an opioid epidemic, and critical race doctrine in schools — but He also talked about the inspiring story of his family “From Cotton to Congress”.

“I am here because my family chose faith over anger, responsibility over resentment, and patriotism over kindness. My grandfather taught me that I could be bitter or better. Not both. My mother said we were victims. Or there could be winners. He chose the victor. I am living proof that our founding fathers were geniuses we should celebrate, not cancel,” said Tim Scott at Drake University in Des Moines.

Sen. Tim Scott speaks in Charleston, SC
Sen. Tim Scott recently visited Iowa for a possible presidential run.win McNamee/Getty Images file

“We really are a land of opportunity, not a land of oppression. That’s just my American story.

Like Mullin, Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., has thrown his support behind Trump; He was expected to golf with the former president at Mar-a-Lago this week. The former Auburn University football coach said the way for the GOP to develop a deep bench of leaders is for younger candidates to run and gain experience.

“It’s called persistence. Before I became head coach, I kept interviewing and interviewing, eventually working my way up. That’s how you do it — just jump in there,” Tuberville said.

But he said it would be “a grind” for some of his Senate colleagues to run this cycle and be away from their young families, especially with Trump, and possibly DeSantis, dominating the field.

One senator who knows something about the demands of a presidential campaign is Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who ran for the White House in 2008 and became the GOP nominee in 2012.

“It’s extremely energy consuming, economically consuming, but it’s a great thrill. You come away more optimistic about the country because you meet people who are not making news but people who are making lives.” making and driving our economy,” Romney said in an interview. “If you get the chance to run for president, make sure you do it.”

Asked if he had any plans to run for a third term, Romney answered in one word: “No.”



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