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Anti-Trump Republicans Quietly Preparing For Own ‘Shadow Primary’ in 2024

Anti-Trump Republicans Quietly Preparing For Own ‘Shadow Primary’ in 2024

More than two years before the next presidential election, a “shadow primary” is already beginning to take shape among at least three fierce Republican critics of Donald Trump’s who’ll determine the best-positioned candidate to occupy the anti-Trump lane in 2024.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is planning trips to Iowa and New Hampshire. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) is considering a rough timeline for a potential presidential announcement. And allies of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) are openly talking up her White House prospects. Both Kinzinger and Cheney sit on the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th Capitol insurrection as the Republican representation for the panel, positioning both as strong contenders against either Trump or the man considered to be the “next best thing,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, should Trump not seek another term. The Associated Press reports that insiders close to Cheney, Hogan, and Kinzinger expect one of them, if not more, to launch a presidential bid after the 2022 midterms.

 

Hogan is working to help Trump’s loudest Republican critics in other states as well, meeting last week with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, who has refused to embrace Trump’s lies about the 2020 election. Hogan also plans to host events for Sen. Lisa Murkowski, (R-AK) and Rep. David Valadao, (R-CA); he voted to impeach Trump for inspiring the January 6th insurrection while Murkowski voted for Trump’s conviction.

It’s a major pivot from 2020, when “Never Trump” operatives failed to recruit any GOP officeholders to challenge the incumbent, who still manages to hold sway over most of the party despite his loss to Joe Biden. But with the 2024 campaign gearing up essentially once the 2022 midterms have been decided, the question is no longer if one of Trump’s prominent Republican critics will run, but how many will mount a campaign, how soon they’ll announce, and how strongly they’ll attack Trump and his supporters now that they have years of footage to use in their ads.

One goal of running in 2024 might not necessarily even be to win the presidency, but instead to hinder Trump from returning to the White House. Ultimately, they want the opposite of what happened in 2020, when Trump’s allies cleared the field of any Republican opponents and persuaded some states to cancel primary contests altogether.

Several other former Trump loyalists who have also emerged as fairweather Trump critics are eyeing the GOP’s next presidential nomination as well. Among them are former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Vice President Mike Pence, and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. But most in this group have offered Trump far more praise than criticism (Pence is the most glaring exception), leaving the likes of Cheney, Hogan, and Kinzinger as the only consistent Trump antagonists in the 2024 conversation.

Cheney has encouraged 2024 speculation by delivering prominent speeches about the future of the Republican Party in recent months, including a November address in New Hampshire, which typically hosts the first presidential primary election. Meanwhile, both Hogan and Kinzinger are building political organizations that could serve as vehicles to promote their presidential ambitions after they leave office early next year.

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