Since I’m utterly dissatisfied with my 2020 presidential election choices, I’ve given some thought about who I would like to see put their hat in the ring in 2024. 

Yes, I know I should probably wait until after the election to put out this list, but what can I say? I’m a political junkie. The environment for Republican candidates then will vary depending on whether we have a President Trump leaving the office or a President Joe Biden running for re-election (I have my doubts that he’ll run for a second term, but that is a different op/ed). 

There will likely be a sizeable Republican presidential field in either scenario, but there are four Republicans that I would like to see among those running. I offer these names in alphabetical order by last name, not in order of preference. 

Nikki Haley

U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Nikki Haley meets Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, June 7, 2017.

I’ve been a fan of Haley’s since she was a gubernatorial candidate. The 48-year-old former Governor of South Carolina and U.N. Ambassador has an impressive resume. She served as the 116th governor of South Carolina from 2011 to 2017. She has demonstrated she can win a statewide office and be re-elected. Before that, she served three terms in the South Carolina House of Representatives.

Haley had an opportunity few governors who later run for president get – sound foreign policy experience. Representing the United States as an ambassador to the United Nations gave her foreign policy chops. I admit that when President Donald Trump first announced her appointment to that role, I didn’t see it, but, in my opinion, she did a fabulous job and was one of the bright spots in the Trump administration.

She has a solid conservative track record, not to say I agree with every decision she has made, but she is a compelling candidate. Her challenge as a private citizen is to find a way to remain relevant. Being a private citizen, however, will allow her to run unencumbered. 

Kristi Noem

Gov. Kristi Noem at the Horasis China event in Las Vegas, Nv in October 2019.
Photo Credit: Richter Frank-Jurgen (CC-By-SA 2.0)

I thought in 2011 that South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem was a rising star. When she spoke at CPAC that year, she was a freshman member of Congress. After serving four terms as South Dakota’s lone representative in the U.S. House of Representatives, she ran for governor in 2018 and won handily to become the state’s first female governor. 

Noem, 48, will face re-election in 2022. If she wins, she will be term-limited after her second term, which provides an excellent opportunity to run for president without having to be concerned about potential blowback to staying in office should her presidential bid fail. 

She has become a champion for individual liberty being, I believe, the only governor who did not order businesses closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“My responsibility is to respect the rights of the people who elected me, and to manage our state operations in a way that reflects the realities of what we have here on the ground here. On the foundation of my principles, commonsense conservative values, and the principles we hold dear in America, the facts, the science, and the data will guide our decision-making here in South Dakota,” Noem said during a press briefing in April.

She, like Haley, also has a solid conservative track record. 

Ben Sasse

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) speaking at a Story County GOP Dinner in Nevada, IA
Photo Credit: Shane Vander Hart

I would like to see the first-term U.S. Senator from Nebraska throw his hat in the ring in 2024. I have been impressed with him since he was elected. He has one of the most conservative voting records in the U.S. Senate but is a statesman and avoids, for the most part, jumping into the partisan political muck.

Sasse, 48, opposed Donald Trump’s election in 2016 but has not opposed Trump’s agenda or appointments when he agrees with them. He can support good policy, but still criticize the president when needed, something not enough Republicans do. 

He understands the limits of executive power and has been a champion for the separation of powers and for Congress to reclaim its proper role. 

He is incredibly smart and personable. Some predicted his opposition to Trump to be a death knell for his career, but sailed in the primary, receiving over 75 percent of the vote against his challenger Matt Innis and is likely to win re-election.

When 2024 approaches, he will have two years left in his second term. He currently sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which provides some foreign policy experience and knowledge. He would make an intriguing presidential candidate.

That said, because of how he downplays the importance of politics and believes most problems must and should be solved outside of the political realm, I think it’s likely he would pass on a presidential run. 

Tim Scott

U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) spoke at Joni Ernst's 3rd Annual Roast and Ride.
U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) spoke at Joni Ernst’s 3rd Annual Roast and Ride.
Photo credit: Shane Vander Hart

U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina has impressed me for years. Scott, 54, was in his second term in the U.S. House of Representatives when he was appointed to fill the U.S. Senate seat held by Jim DeMint after resigning to lead the Heritage Foundation. 

Before serving in Congress, Scott served on the Charleston City Council and later the South Carolina House of Representatives. After his U.S. Senate appointment, he won re-election in 2016.

So he brings a wealth of experience from the municipal, state, and federal levels.

He is a principled statesman who has been willing to speak truth to power. He has been a leading voice among the Republican Party on race relations, police reform, and criminal justice reform.

Scott has said that if he runs for re-election in 2022, it will be his last bid for U.S. Senate and would term-limit himself. So I’m not sure he would run for President two years later, but I hope he considers it.

Final Thoughts

If Iowa retains its first-in-the-nation status, I would have difficulty choosing which candidate to caucus should all four enter the race. That’s a good problem to have. Should anyone one of these four win the Republican nomination, I would have someone I could happily vote for president.

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