Here are all the top contenders to be Trump's vice-presidential nominee in 2024

  • Trump is now the GOP's presumptive presidential nominee.

  • The former president is facing competing pressures to find his new running mate.

  • Trump has a lot to choose from when it comes to either former rivals or MAGA allies.

Former President Donald Trump is seriously searching for his next running mate.

Trump, now officially the GOP's presumptive presidential nominee, is looking to narrow down a large list of former rivals, lawmakers, and MAGA allies to find the potential next vice president.

The former president faced some pressure to announce his decision quickly. But for now, Trump appears likely to follow a more traditional timeline. NBC News reported that "there is a growing consensus" around a June announcement. The Republican National Convention is set to start July 15 in Milwaukee.

Trump has stoked speculation about his pick by publicly confirming half a dozen names on his list: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, South Carolina Sen. Tim biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Florida Rep. Byron Donalds, and former Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

Almost all of the top names will attend a major donor retreat at Mar-a-Lago this weekend. According to CNBC, Rubio, Vance, Scott, Burgum, Noem, and Donals will be "special guests." Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, the No. 4 House Republican, will also attend.

Noem's chances have cratered after her reveal that decades ago, she shot and killed her family's 14-month-old dog named Cricket. Even some Trump allies have questioned the governor's judgment for including the previously unknown story in her forthcoming memoir.

History shows that the ultimate selection could be surprising, so it's worth considering an even wider pool of potential names.

Here's a look at the names to watch as Trump continues his quest to retake the White House:

Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina

Scott on stage with Trump in Laconia, New Hampshire on January 22, 2024.
Scott on stage with Trump in Laconia, New Hampshire on January 22, 2024.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The 58-year-old three-term senator endorsed Trump shortly before the New Hampshire primary. The South Carolinian also largely avoided criticizing Trump in a way that may have foreclosed him being on the ticket.

According to Politico, Scott talks with Trump or texts with the former president nearly every week.

Scott previously stoked speculation that he could be picked by telling the Wall Street Journal that he found his and Trump's contrasting styles "to be very complementary."

It's worth noting that while the former president has a growing list of congressional allies, the Senate has repeatedly been an issue for him.

Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy

Ramaswamy at an event in Des Moines, Iowa on January 15, 2024.
Ramaswamy at an event in Des Moines, Iowa on January 15, 2024.Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Like some other candidates on this list, Ramaswamy is unlikely to be chosen as Trump's next VP. But that doesn't mean there aren't people out there who would like to see it.

Ramaswamy was perhaps the only candidate in the race who never dared to issue substantive criticisms of Trump, choosing instead to run as a staunch supporter of the former president who would carry that mantle forward.

He dropped out immediately after coming in 4th in Iowa, endorsing Trump and likely securing himself some sort of future position in MAGA world, if not Trump's actual cabinet.

But while Ramaswamy would be popular with some of Trump's most devoted followers, his penchant for conspiracy theorizing would likely be a liability in a general election.

Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota

Noem at a rally in Rapid City, South Dakota on September 8, 2023.
Noem at a rally in Rapid City, South Dakota on September 8, 2023.Scott Olson/Getty Images

The second-term South Dakota governor was once, perhaps best known nationally for flouting COVID restrictions during the pandemic. That was until Noem decided to include a story in a forthcoming book about her decision to kill the family's 14-month-old dog after she claimed it proved to be untrainable and overly aggressive.

Since then, the consensus is that Noem has greatly damaged her prospects of becoming Trump's running mate.

Before the dog episode, Noem faced concerns after she posted a bizarre infomercial-esque video touting a dental procedure she received in Texas.

Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida

Byron Donalds shakes Donald Trump's hand
Rep. Byron Donalds, a Florida Republican, shakes former Donald President Donald Trump's handMichael M Santiago/Getty Images

Donalds, currently in just his second term, has risen rapidly in Congress. Conservatives opposed to Kevin McCarthy's leadership put the Florida Republican forth as an alternative to the then-longtime House GOP leader. Donalds was later added to the powerful House Steering Committee after he switched his support to McCarthy and McCarthy went on to become speaker.

That wasn't his only major flip. Donalds, who had previously been DeSantis' close ally, endorsed Trump last April, part of a string of Florida Republicans that snubbed their governor to back the former president. Donalds has also been floated as a potential successor to DeSantis, who cannot run for reelection in 2026 due to consecutive term limits.

Donalds was also among the six potential names Ingraham suggested to the former president. Trump responded by saying, "They're all good, they're all solid."

Like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Donalds would also have to deal with potential concerns of sharing the same home state as Trump.

Former Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii

Tulsi Gabbard
Former Congresswoman Tulsi GabbardSteven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is likely the most surprising name on this list. A former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, she endorsed President Joe Biden after previously declaring Trump "unfit" to remain as president.

Gabbard's politics have changed drastically since then. In 2022, she announced that she was formerly leaving the Democratic Party. Over time, the four-term former congresswoman became a fixture on Fox News and at political events. According to The Washington Post, Gabbard has also advised the former president and his team about defense policy.

She was also among the six names Ingraham asked Trump about in terms of potential running mates.

Sen. JD Vance of Ohio

Vance at the Capitol on November 14, 2023.
Vance at the Capitol on November 14, 2023.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Despite having just been elected to the US Senate last year, Vance has repeatedly been floated as a vice-presidential candidate for Trump.

And he's not saying no.

"Certainly if the president asked, I would have to think about it," Vance recently said while stumping for Trump in New Hampshire — though he also said that the "best place for me" is to remain in the US Senate.

A former venture capitalist and the author of the bestselling book "Hillbilly Elegy," Vance was once a "NeverTrumper" and a fierce critic of the former president. But he has since morphed into one of his staunchest acolytes in the Senate, and he's at the vanguard of a movement that seeks to reorient the party more towards the working class.

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida

Donald Trump and Marco Rubio campaign in Florida ahead of the 2022 midterms
Former President Donald Trump campaigned for Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a former 2016 GOP arrival, ahead of the 2022 midterms.Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Rubio once viewed as the GOP's future, is reportedly gaining attention as a possible pick.

Rubio, like DeSantis, endured significant taunting and attacks when he opposed Trump during the 2016 primaries. But the pair have moved beyond the "Liddle Marco" jabs.

The Florida senator was a key ally during Trump's presidency, though Rubio did not support overturning the 2020 election results. After the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot, Rubio delivered an impassioned speech on the Senate floor, arguing that it was "a terrible idea" to continue to raise objections to the results.

Now a third-term senator, Rubio, as NBC News pointed out, would also have more experience in federal office than Vice President Kamala Harris did when Biden tapped her to be his running mate.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia

Greene at the Capitol on January 11, 2024.
Greene at the Capitol on January 11, 2024.Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Greene, the fire-breathing conspiracy-minded congresswoman from Georgia, wouldn't exactly be a tent-expanding choice for the former president.

But that hasn't stopped her from talking up her own prospects.

"It's talked about frequently and I know my name is on a list," Greene told The Guardian in August. "But really my biggest focus right now is serving the district that elected me."

A second-term legislator with no major policy accomplishments, Greene wouldn't bring much to the equation when it comes to policy chops or broadening Trump's appeal. In fact, it could damage the ticket, given her extremely poor polling.

Greene has also alienated top party leaders over her push to oust Speaker Mike Johnson. Trump has repeatedly praised Johnson as he's tried to navigate Greene's challenge.

Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York

Stefanik at the Capitol on September 13, 2023.
Stefanik at the Capitol on September 13, 2023.Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The chairwoman of the House GOP Conference, Stefanik is the highest-ranking official who is seen as a potential Trump pick.

The New York congresswoman, who ascended to her leadership position on the heels of Liz Cheney's ouster, has notably undergone a sharp shift when it comes to Trump, beginning with the 2019 impeachment hearings.

Trump has reportedly described Stefanik as a "killer" and a potential pick in private, and the congresswoman recently said she "would be honored to serve in any capacity in a Trump administration."

Stefanik has raised her national profile by grilling college presidents over their handling of students who have protested the Israel-Hamas war. The New Yorker has drilled into administrators whom she has accused of being too weak in their response to antisemitism.

Sen. Katie Britt of Alabama

Katie Britt
Sen. Katie Britt, an Alabama RepublicanKevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Britt quickly built her profile before delivering the Republican Party's official response to Biden's State of the Union address.

Britt's response was widely panned, including by some Republicans. NBC's "Saturday Night Live" enlisted Scarlett Johansson to impersonate the freshman senator.

At just 42, Britt could become one of the youngest vice presidents in recent memory. Only Dan Quayle, then a US senator from Indiana, would have been slightly younger. Quayle was 41 when he began his vice presidency under President George H.W. Bush.

Britt has made her age and the fact she is a mother of school-age children a key selling point in her political career.

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders of Arkansas

Sanders delivers the GOP response to the State of the Union address on February 7, 2023.
Sanders delivers the GOP response to the State of the Union address on February 7, 2023.Al Drago/Getty Images

No one on this list knows Trump like Sanders. As his second White House press secretary, Sanders turned her turn at the podium into a governorship. As Arkansas governor, she's pursued an array of conservative policies.

She has endorsed Trump's campaign, but she has hinted that she wouldn't be interested in returning to the White House as vice president.

"Look, I absolutely love the job I have. I think it's one of the best jobs I could ever ask for, and I am honored to serve as governor, and I hope I get to do it for the next seven years," Sanders previously told CBS News.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia

Youngkin at an event in Washington, DC on September 26, 2023.
Youngkin at an event in Washington, DC on September 26, 2023.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Youngkin, 57, unlike the other governors on this list, has shown he can win a competitive state. The former private equity maven shocked political pundits by narrowly winning the Virginia governor's race in 2021. But Youngkin won in large part by ignoring Trump.

The Virginian's political stock has also declined in the wake of disappointing state legislative elections that saw Democrats gain full control of the statehouse in Richmond. Trump might honestly be more concerned that Youngkin has ties to Jeff Roe, a former Cruz advisor, who left Youngkin's orbit to lead a pro-DeSantis super PAC that ended disastrously.

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida

DeSantis in Derry, New Hampshire on January 17, 2024.
DeSantis in Derry, New Hampshire on January 17, 2024.Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Trump and his allies spent over a year ruthlessly attacking DeSantis. It was only toward the end of his disappointing primary that the 45-year-old began to return fire.

DeSantis did endorse Trump immediately after dropping out before New Hampshire, but the question remains if either side would want to repair their political alliance.

There appeared to be a brief peace, but that was thrown into after a top Trump campaign official tore into DeSantis. The public attack was in response to a report that DeSantis privately expressed concern that Trump might resort to "identity politics" when selecting his vice president.

Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley

Haley in Hampton, New Hampshire on January 23, 2024.
Haley in Hampton, New Hampshire on January 23, 2024.Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Haley, who has remained clear her campaign will continue, has repeatedly said she's not interested in being anyone's vice president. Trump's choice of Mike Pence illustrates that he could tap someone to unite the party, but it's clear the former president is nowhere near happy with how that marriage ended.

Haley's biggest strength would be her effort to appeal to independent voters. She could also hopefully repair Trump's long-running struggles in the nation's suburbs. It's clear, though, that her decision to keep campaigning is starting to grate on Trump.

Biden has also shown greater interest in bringing Haley's voters than Trump.

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