2024 GOP field narrows, as Trump, DeSantis court voters

(NewsNation) — Another 2024 GOP contender is out. Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan took himself out of the race for president.

Hogan believes too many Republicans in the field gives Trump a better shot, something apparently more traditional, moderate Republicans like Hogan hope to avoid.

“The more of them you have, the less chance you have for somebody rising up,” Hogan said, later adding: “I didn’t want to have a pileup.”

Former President Donald Trump appears to be the 2024 GOP frontrunner, making his case Saturday in front of a very Trump-friendly crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

“I’m your warrior. I’m your justice. And for those who’ve been betrayed, I’m your retribution,” Trump said.

But, a crowded field of GOP competitors is emerging – some declared, some not, including many former Trump appointees and allies.

None so far have garnered more attention than Ron DeSantis. The Florida governor spoke Sunday to Republicans in California.

“How rough will it get? Biden vs. DeSantis?” Hogan said. “It could get rough. Time will tell. It’s going to be very interesting.”

The rest of the potential field is just beginning to create distance between themselves and the former president.

Sunday, when asked if Trump was a “true conservative” on managing national debt, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he could do better.

“$6 trillion more in debt. That’s never the right direction for the country. I think a President Pompeo or any conservative president will do better,” Pompeo said.

Still, CPAC seemed to show that Trump is very much at the helm of the Republican party for now. Many would-be-challengers like DeSantis, who has not yet announced a presidential bid, and former Vice President Mike Pence didn’t bother to attend.

CPAC co-host Mercedes Schlapp tells NewsNation it was a missed opportunity.

“It is a missed opportunity. People want to hear him. CPAC is the honest broker. This is where potential presidential candidates can come and really make their case, here at CPAC,” Schlapp said. “So if I were advising Ron DeSantis, I would’ve said let’s pick the people over the donors.”

Some political analysts say CPAC may not hold the weight it used to in the political realm.

“It’s about Trump. It’s about grievance. It’s not really about the conservative movement, as it was when Ronald Reagan went there,” said NewsNation political contributor Chris Hahn.

Despite polls earlier in the year showing Trump trailing DeSantis, the former president won the unscientific straw poll conducted at CPAC with 62% of the vote.


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