As the countdown to the first Republican presidential primaries begins, the GOP’s candidate field remains uncertain. However, a behind-the-scenes contest for potential running mates to former President Donald Trump, the early front-runner for the nomination, is already in motion.
Trump, in a recent speech in Florida, hinted that many individuals are currently “auditioning” for the position. Unlike other candidates, Trump doesn’t need an introduction, and he’s eager to project an air of inevitability around his campaign, especially as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis emerges as a potential rival.
Though Trump campaign officials have not been discussing potential VP candidates actively, many potential running mates have been seizing opportunities to be near Trump at events, including the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Among those seen in the audience cheering Trump’s speech were Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Elise Stefanik, and Kari Lake, a former news anchor and Arizona gubernatorial candidate.
Sources close to Trump indicate that he’s in no rush to choose his running mate and is aware that the nomination process must unfold. However, he has been considering possible choices, including a preference for selecting a female running mate this time around.
In 2016, Trump opted for a candidate who complemented his lack of political experience, choosing then-Indiana Governor Mike Pence. This time, Trump is looking for someone more like himself, and many believe Elise Stefanik would be the best choice.
During CPAC, Kari Lake won a straw poll asking who would best serve as Trump’s VP. Although Lake has stated her primary focus is on serving as Arizona Governor, she also expressed her commitment to ensuring Trump’s return to the White House.
Meanwhile, Marjorie Taylor Greene believes she is on Trump’s shortlist for VP, and Elise Stefanik has been subtly working to gain his favor, endorsing him before his candidacy announcement and actively defending him in Congress.
As the race for Trump’s VP pick heats up, the eventual choice may significantly impact the 2024 election and the future of the Republican Party.