2024 Election: Meet the candidates lining up for presidential race

The 2024 race for the White House is ramping up, with many Republican candidates -- and a few Democrats -- launching campaigns for the party's nomination to take on Democrat President Joe Biden. File Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI
The 2024 race for the White House is ramping up, with many Republican candidates -- and a few Democrats -- launching campaigns for the party's nomination to take on Democrat President Joe Biden. File Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI | License Photo

The 2024 U.S. presidential race continues to ramp up, with many Republican candidates -- and a couple of Democrats -- launching campaigns for the party's nomination to take on Democrat President Joe Biden.

Whether the election on Nov. 5, 2024, will be a rematch of 2020's Biden vs. Donald Trump match depends on the events of the next few months, as the major parties hold their primary contests.


The first Democratic primary votes are tentatively scheduled for South Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Georgia and Michigan, starting as early as February. The first Republican primaries are expected in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

Here's a look at the major-party candidates who have announced a run so far.


At 80 years old, President Joe Biden's age has been a target of criticism from opponents. File Photo by Michael Reynolds/UPI

Joe Biden

President Joe Biden vowed to take on "extreme MAGA Republicans," when he announced his bid for re-election in April. Through his first two years in office, Biden has focused on the United States' recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuilding the nation's infrastructure.

Among early successes was his administration's concerted effort to deliver vaccines. Biden differentiated himself from his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, by voicing his trust in the safety of the vaccines, receiving his first shot on camera. To date, about 81% of the U.S. population has been vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Biden has since delivered on several campaign promises, including investments in infrastructure with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act and achieving historically low unemployment rates. However, his presidency has also been marred by historically high inflation, a global issue largely stemming from the pandemic.

At 80 years old, Biden's age has been a target of criticism from opponents. He spent 36 years as a U.S. senator representing Delaware and eight as vice president to President Barack Obama.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaks at a rally protesting vaccine mandates on the National Mall in Washington in 2022. File Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., son of slain 1968 presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy and nephew to President John F. Kennedy, seeks to add to his family's political legacy. Kennedy entered the race for the Democratic primary in April.

Kennedy Jr. is a lawyer who focuses on environmental justice. He formerly served as the senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. He was also on the Riverkeeper board for 33 years. That organization advocates for cleaning up the Hudson River.

Climate action is among Kennedy's top priorities. He said he will reform agricultural subsidies to emphasize regenerative practices, incentivize clean energy and preserve undeveloped land.

The 69-year-old was among the most outspoken figures against the COVID-19 vaccine. He founded the anti-vaccine organization Children's Health Defense and during the pandemic accused former chief medical adviser to the president, Dr. Anthony Fauci, of fascism. He also shared misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines, which led to his Instagram account being shut down.

Author Marianne Williamson participates in a presidential debate in 2019. She is again seeing the Democratic nomination. File Photo by John Nowak/CNN

Marianne Williamson

Marianne Williamson, 70, is campaigning for the Democratic nomination for the second time. The author has spoken in favor of universal healthcare, tuition-free higher education and increasing the minimum wage.

Williamson said she would bring a new and unique perspective to the presidency, challenging the norms of what makes a candidate electable. When she announced her candidacy in February -- the first Democrat to officially do so -- she promised to "offer a clashing vision to Biden's."

A self-described political activist and spiritual thought leader, Williamson has not held political office. She first ran as an independent to represent California's 33rd Congressional District in 2014. She received the fourth-most votes out of 18 candidates. She then entered the campaign for presidency in January 2019. Her campaign ended just shy of one year later.


Former President Donald Trump enters the 2024 presidential race besieged by legal problems. File Photo by John Nacion/UPI

Donald Trump

Former President Donald Trump, 76, has thrown his red hat into the ring once again as a candidate for the Republican nomination. Trump has not relented on his criticism of the Biden administration and has yet to acknowledge that his claims about his 2020 election loss were false.


Like his first two campaigns, Trump has touted his America-first agenda and painted himself as the anti-establishment candidate. He seeks to further push the Republican agenda of slashing at the rights of the transgender community, as well as virtually phasing out trade with China.

He has spoken of breaking up the Department of Education and cutting funding to schools that discuss critical race theory and gender identity. Immigration will also be one of his top priorities as Republicans push for construction to resume on a wall at the southern border.

While Trump continues on the campaign trail, multiple legal matters will follow. This spring, he pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts related to falsifying records in multiple hush-money schemes related to his 2016 campaign.

Fulton County, Ga., District Attorney Fani Willis is expected to make an announcement on a potential indictment this summer in the investigation into Trump's alleged attempts to subvert the 2020 election results.

In Washington, he faces an investigation into his handling of classified documents. He also intends to appeal the ruling in writer E. Jean Carroll's civil suit against him, which found him liable for sexual battery and defamation.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is running on a record of conservative legislative victories in his home state. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI

Ron DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ended all speculation about his candidacy for the Republican nomination with an unconventional announcement on Twitter, joined by Elon Musk. The announcement was snagged by technical issues, but DeSantis has sought new ways to differentiate himself from other candidates.

DeSantis has a number of prominent policy successes to lean on as governor and they are more recently achieved than any of his Republican counterparts. In the 2023 legislative session, he saw his Parental Rights in Education Act -- dubbed "Don't Say Gay" by critics -- expanded, banned funding for diversity, equity and inclusions programs at public institutions of higher learning and prohibited gender-affirming care for minors, among several other high-profile conservative agenda items.

He has also highlighted his state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic as he urged schools to open while many other states continued with online learning.

Like Trump, DeSantis has positioned himself as an opponent of the Washington establishment and bureaucratic red tape. He has pledged to be tough on border security and focused on giving parents more power in their children's education.

The 44-year-old spent six years in the House of Representatives before being elected governor of Florida in 2018. Prior to serving in public office, DeSantis served in the Navy for six years. He was a judge advocate general officer and worked with detainees at Guantanamo Bay.


Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., is a ranking member on the committee on banking, housing and urban affairs, and also serves on several other committees including foreign relations and small business and entrepreneurship. File Pool Photo by Tom Williams/UPI

Tim Scott

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott took aim at the Biden administration in his announcement that he will campaign for the Republican nomination. He vowed to address immigration from his first day in office, stating that Biden has attacked American values and security.

The senator described his modest upbringing being raised in poverty by a single mother. He evoked the "American dream," claiming the "radical left" had closed the pathways that allowed him to achieve.

The 57-year-old was elected to the Senate in 2013 following two years representing South Carolina's 1st District in the House. He is a ranking member on the committee on banking, housing and urban affairs, and also serves on several other committees including foreign relations and small business and entrepreneurship.

Scott's career in public service began in his hometown of Charleston, S.C., where he served on the city council from 1995 to 2008. Fellow South Carolinian and Republican candidate Nikki Haley, then governor, appointed Scott to the Senate after Jim DeMint resigned. Scott became the first Black Republican senator in more than 30 years.

Nikki Haley has served as governor of South Carolina and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI

Nikki Haley

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, 51, brings experience in foreign policy to the table as a Republican candidate. She served as ambassador to the United Nations under Trump and was a key supporter of Trump's decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The daughter of Indian immigrants, Haley has a background in finance, starting at 13 years old as a bookkeeper for her parents' clothing company. She later would become chief financial officer and served on the Orangeburg, S.C., chamber of commerce's board of directors.

Haley announced her candidacy targeting specific Democrats, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., for their stance on social issues. Haley said assertions that "America's founding principles are bad -- racist and evil" are untrue.

The sole female Republican candidate so far has broken slightly from her fellow Republican candidates on the issue of abortion. During a campaign speech in Arlington, Va., Haley said the United States must reach a "consensus on abortion." Though she opposes the procedure, she said she doubted the restrictions that have been passed in Republican states will ever be adopted at the federal level.

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has also served in Congress and headed the Drug Enforcement Administration in his political career. Photo courtesy of Asa Hutchinson/Facebook

Asa Hutchinson

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, 72, said his experience sets him apart from other candidates when he announced his campaign. He also called for Trump to withdraw from the race because he is facing unpredictable circumstances, alluding to the former president's legal woes.

Hutchinson served as governor from 2015 to January 2023, steering the state through the COVID-19 pandemic. He was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas by President Ronald Reagan in 1982 and later served three terms in the House, beginning in 1996. President George W. Bush named him director of the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2001.

Hutchinson said he wants to create a panel to study Medicare and Social Security. He also criticized the Biden administration over inflation and rising interest rates.

"Every hard-working American family gets a double hit from the Biden economy," he said. "Their paycheck doesn't go as far and they are paying more on car loans and credit card debt because of the high interest rates."

Vivek Ramaswamy founded Strive asset management in 2022 and is a proponent of decentralizing currency. Photo courtesy of Vivek Ramaswamy/Facebook

Vivek Ramaswamy

Vivek Ramaswamy, 37, is the youngest presidential candidate in the field. He is an author and entrepreneur described on his campaign website as the "CEO of Anti-Woke."

Ramaswamy has expressed mistrust in the government while focusing his campaign message on reducing its size. He has also been outspoken against practices such as affirmative action, stating that the "American dream means you believe in merit."

Ramaswamy founded Strive asset management in 2022 and is a proponent of decentralizing currency by investing in cryptocurrency. He encourages his donors to contribute to his campaign using Bitcoin. During the Bitcoin 2023 Conference in Miami, Ramaswamy said the biggest threat to liberty is a "hybrid of government power and private enterprise." He claimed that the government will not censor speech, but use private enterprise in the form of social media to do so.

Ramaswamy said the government has used "climate pledges" from private companies to implement aspects of the Green New Deal.

Talk-radio host Larry Elder, a regular Fox News guest, acknowledged that he is a long-shot candidate as the only one in the Republican race who has not held office. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI

Larry Elder

Conservative talk-radio host Larry Elder, 71, will attempt another bid at public office as a candidate for the Republican nomination. Elder previously attempted to become governor of California in the recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2021.

Elder, a regular Fox News guest, acknowledged that he is a long-shot candidate as the only one in the Republican race who has not held office. However, he said he felt a moral, religious and patriotic duty to run.

The Los Angeles native has placed crime and policing prominently among his campaign priorities. He has boasted of his support for law enforcement and border security. Elder also is an opponent of government programs like welfare and said he wants to address the increasing rate of single-parent households.

Montana's former secretary of state, Corey Stapleton is a former naval officer who was appointed to the Naval Academy during the Reagan administration. Photo courtesy of Corey Stapleton/Instagram

Corey Stapleton

Corey Stapleton, Montana's former secretary of state, said he does not believe a compelling case has been made for the Republican Party to "go back" to Trump. The 55-year-old does not believe America wants to see another race between Trump and Biden, questioning the age of both candidates.


Juxtaposing the prospect of a 2020 rematch, Stapleton said his campaign is about future generations. He has adopted the slogan "pay it forward," pledging to "create an amazing future for our children and grandchildren."

Stapleton is a former naval officer who was appointed to the Naval Academy during the Reagan administration. He later became a financial adviser and was president of the Montana School for the Deaf and Blind Foundation.

In 2000, Stapleton became a state senator in Montana, serving until 2007. He was elected secretary of state in 2016.

Former Vice President Mike Pence (pictured speaking at the National Review Institute Ideas Summit 2023 in Washington, D.C., in March) has tried to distance himself from former President Donald Trump while still hoping to appeal to many of the former president's supporters, too. File Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI

Mike Pence

Former vice president Mike Pence joins the race attempting to distance himself from his former boss Donald Trump. The 64-year-old has said "President Trump was wrong" when trying to insist Pence had the authority to overrule results of the 2020 presidential election. Pence recently testified before a federal grand jury about the potential election plot but has not yet publicly commented on his appearance.


The seemingly mild-mannered Indiana native is a former governor of the Hoosier State, serving in the House of Representatives prior to that. A self-described evangelical Christian, Pence has drawn criticism for his stance on gay rights and for supporting a ban on same-sex marriage in his state.

Since leaving office, Pence has distanced himself from Trump, publicly endorsing Republican candidates opposing the former president. He continues to advocate for what he calls traditional Christian values, and recently criticized MLB's Los Angeles Dodgers for inviting a group to its upcoming Pride Night that he says blatantly parodies Roman Catholic religion.

Pence was born and raised in Columbus, Ind., the son of a Korean War veteran. He earned a law degree from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis before first running for Congress in 1988 and losing.

He served as the 50th governor in Indiana's history before being added to Trump's presidential campaign ticket and becoming the 48th U.S. vice president. Pence has said he was inspired to get into politics by people like John F. Kennedy Jr.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, pictured speaking at a memorial service for Gov. Brendan Byrne in 2018, spoke against using tactics that divide voters when he announced his candidacy for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI

Christopher James Christie

Pundits have speculated about Chris Christie's declaration for some time. The former New Jersey governor has been serving as a TV political commentator since leaving office in 2018. He has been critical of Donald Trump, arguing the country should move on, and criticizing the former president's insistence that there was interference in the 2020 presidential election.

The 60-year-old native of Newark, N.J., has been called a long shot to win the Republican primary, behind Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Christie, a former federal prosecutor, dropped out of the 2016 primary after finishing in sixth place in New Hampshire. He frequently sparred on the campaign trail and has promised more fireworks if the two end up on the debate stage together again in the coming months.

Christie has pushed back against far-right conspiracy theorists and "truth deniers" in his own party, arguing only a unified front can lead to a Republican president. He has called for tougher border laws, and attempted to position himself as a viable alternative for traditional conservative voters.

Christie, a father of four, earned a law degree from Seton Hall University. The ardent New Jersey supporter and Bruce Springsteen fan gained nationwide acclaim for his handling of the disaster and the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. However, he also was widely criticized in the so-called "Bridgegate" scandal while governor, where his associates conspired to close lanes of the George Washington Bridge as political payback against a local mayor.


North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, pictured to the right of Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, announced that he is running for the Republican presidential nomination in an opinion piece to the Wall Street Journal. File photo by Andrew Harrer/UPI

Doug Burgum

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum called for change in the White House when he announced his candidacy in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece. Burgum has been in office since 2016.

The 66-year-old entered the world of politics after a career in business, founding Great Plains Software and serving as CEO until the company was sold to Microsoft in 2001. Prior, he wasa consultant with McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm. He also co-founded Arthur Ventures, a venture capital firm.

North Dakota's 33rd governor supported a tax relief package that he signed into law in 2023 that he called the "largest individual income tax relief package in state history." He also signed several laws relating to the rights of the transgender community, including restrictions on participating in school sports.

In April, Burgum signed a bill that criminalizes abortion with few exceptions. It went into effect immediately upon being signed.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez was elected mayor in 2017 and has served two terms. File photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Francis Suarez

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez became the third Floridian to announce their candidacy as a Republican, following Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump. Prior to filing, Suarez urged for calm and peaceful protests during the arraignment of Trump on federal charges in downtown Miami.

The 45-year-old was elected mayor in 2017 and is serving his second term. He has supported DeSantis on some of his most divisive agenda items, including a ban on discussing sex and gender identity in schools, also referred to as the "Don't Say Gay" law. However, he was also slightly critical of the governor after Disney pulled out of an expansion project that would have created an estimated 2,000 jobs in Florida.

Under Suarez's watch, Miami implemented "ShotSpotter" technology that detects incidents of gunfire. He oversaw the establishment of a transportation trust fund to support future transit development. He also serves as chair of the city's environment committee and is on the advisory board of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Suarez lays claim to being his city's first Miami-born mayor. His father, Xavier Suarez, was mayor from 1985 to 1993. He briefly served again from 1997 to 1998, but was removed from office when an investigation uncovered evidence of voter fraud.

Rep. Will Hurd, a Republican from Texas, has announced that he will run for president. File Photo by Andrew Harrer/UPI

Will Hurd

Former congressman Will Hurd represented Texas from 2015 to 2021 and has been a vocal critic of Trump. He is a moderate Republican running on a campaign that places illegal immigration and inflation among its top priorities.

Hurd, 45, worked as an officer in the CIA for nine years from 2000 to 2009. He speaks Urdu and his position with the intelligence agency took him to Afghanistan, India and Pakistan -- where he worked undercover.

After leaving the CIA, Hurd announced in 2010 that he would run for Congress but ultimately lost in a runoff election. He ran again and won Texas's District 23 in 2014. He won re-election in 2016 and 2018 but decided not to run for a fourth term in 2020.

Hurd, as a congressman, was prolific in working to get bills passed -- particularly focused on cybersecurity and technology. During his tenure, he served as the chair of the House Oversight Committee's subcommittee for information technology. He also served on the Homeland Security Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

As a lawmaker, Hurd was praised for his efforts to work across the aisle with Democrats. He voted against repealing the Affordable Care Act and supported universal background checks for gun purchases. He called on Trump to drop out of the 2016 presidential race and called his border wall an ineffective way to secure the border.


Despite his differences with his party, Hurd did vote against impeaching Trump during his first impeachment in 2019.

Third Party

Dr. Cornel West speaks at a Sanders pre-debate rally near Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa on November 14, 2015. West is running as a 2024 presidential candidate as a member of the People's Party. File photo by Steve Pope/UPI

Cornel West

Cornel West is the first candidate to declare for a third party in the 2024 campaign cycle, announcing that he will run as a member of the People's Party. The 70-year-old distanced himself from both mainstream parties in his announcement video, stating that neither will "tell the truth" about topics such as the war in Ukraine, financial markets or the military.

West is a longtime political activist and advocate for social and racial justice. He toured with Sen. Bernie Sanders during his 2016 bid for the Democratic nomination. He is the author 20 books on topics including philosophy, politics, race and 20th-century African American leaders.

The lifelong academic teaches philosophy at Union Theological Seminary in New York. He previously taught at Harvard, where he earned his bachelor's degree before earning a master's and Ph.D in philosophy from Princeton.


West said he supports healthcare for all, increasing access to livable wages and quality housing, combatting climate change and securing women's rights to make healthcare decisions. He has also vowed to address poverty and mass incarceration.

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