Factbox-Who will Trump choose for his US Republican running mate?

By Thomson Reuters Mar 20, 2024 | 6:30 AM

By Tim Reid

(Reuters) – With the Republican primary race behind him, Donald Trump now faces a big decision about his choice for a running mate to take on Democratic President Joe Biden in November.

Will the Republican presidential candidate pick a woman or a person of color to boost his support from key voting blocs? Will he choose loyalty over political ambition? Will he surprise with someone who isn’t on most people’s radar?

The list of possible vice presidential picks runs long, both with names Trump has mentioned or those floated by aides. One thing seems certain: Mike Pence, Trump’s estranged former vice president, won’t make the cut for the No. 2 spot in 2024.

Here is a look at some potential Trump running mates:


Scott, a U.S. senator from South Carolina who is Black, has become a fiercely loyal Trump ally since he ended his own presidential bid in November. Aides have been urging Trump to pick a woman or a Black man to add diversity to the ticket and attract more moderate voters. Trump has publicly praised the 58-year-old lawmaker, calling him a “great advocate.” It remains to be seen whether the mild-mannered Scott would be well-suited for the traditional “attack dog” role of a running mate.


Noem, serving her second four-year term as South Dakota’s governor after a landslide reelection victory in 2022, is close to Trump. She rose to national prominence after refusing to impose a statewide mask mandate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Noem, 52, campaigned for Trump at several events in neighboring Iowa in January. “I think anybody in this country, if they were offered it, needs to consider it,” she said when asked by CBS in January about being Trump’s running mate. Noem is a skilled politician and may be too charismatic for Trump, who does not like to be upstaged. And in March, she became the target of a lawsuit and a request by a Democratic state legislator for an inquiry after she posted an infomercial-style plug for a cosmetic dental practice in Texas where she had work done.


Stefanik, a New York congresswoman, is another fiercely loyal Trump ally and a rising star in the Republican Party as the House of Representatives’ highest-ranking woman. She gained national prominence in December after embarrassing the heads of three top universities about antisemitism on their campuses during a congressional hearing. Two of them later resigned, including the president of Stefanik’s alma mater, Harvard University. Stefanik was one of the 147 members of Congress who voted not to certify Biden’s 2020 election win on Jan. 6, 2021, the day of the riot by Trump’s supporters at the U.S. Capitol. There are concerns among some Republicans that Stefanik, 39, may be too inexperienced for the presidential ticket.


Sanders, 41, the Arkansas governor, is Trump’s former White House press secretary. She frequently defends his record from the governor’s mansion in Little Rock. A seasoned, battle-tested spokesperson, she would be a skilled advocate for the former president on the campaign trail. It is unclear whether she would take the job of running mate. “I absolutely love the job I have,” she said in January. Sanders’ father, onetime presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, has also been a longtime supporter of Trump.


Donalds, 45, is a congressman from Florida who is Black. A conservative who belonged to the far-right Tea Party movement, Donalds voted not to certify Biden’s 2020 election win on Jan. 6, 2021. An eloquent advocate for Trump, the congressman can often be seen at the former president’s campaign events. Trump told Fox News in February that Donalds is on his short list. Asked by Reuters in February about that, Donalds said it was “pretty cool” and confirmed he wants to be Trump’s running mate.


Ramaswamy is another former Trump presidential rival who has become an outspoken supporter since quitting the race in January. Ramaswamy, 38, a multimillionaire former biotech investor, dominated many of the Republican presidential debates with his slick style and clashes with fellow candidates. But the more Republican primary voters saw of him, the less they liked him, according to opinion polls – one factor that might count against him.


A former Democratic congresswoman who ran for president as a Democrat in 2020, Gabbard left the party in 2022 to become an independent. She has become increasingly critical of Biden and his administration, and she has become hugely popular among conservatives and a frequent guest on far-right TV and radio shows. In February, Gabbard, 42, was a headline speaker at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, where she accused Trump’s Democratic critics of having the “mentality of dictators.” The fact she was a longtime Democrat may work against her in securing the No. 2 spot.


Carson, who is Black, is Trump’s former housing and urban development secretary. A retired neurosurgeon, Carson, 72, unsuccessfully ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. He rose to national prominence as a Black conservative after a 2013 speech at the National Prayer Breakfast when he criticized the policies of Barack Obama, with the then-Democratic president sitting just feet away. Carson, a Seventh-day Adventist, stumped for the Trump campaign in Iowa this election cycle by visiting churches in the state. However, his low-key, quirky campaign style could knock him off the VP list.


Lake, a former TV news anchor, is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Arizona this November. She ran unsuccessfully for governor in the battleground state in 2022  despite getting Trump’s endorsement. Lake has never conceded that race, and has promoted Trump’s baseless claim that his 2020 election defeat to Biden was the result of fraud. Lake, 54, is a skilled public speaker but may be too polarizing a figure in a year when Trump will need moderate voters in swing states to win in November.


Some Republicans believe Haley, the former U.N. ambassador who was Trump’s last remaining rival for the Republican nomination, would be an ideal running mate. She appeals to the more moderate Republican and independent voters Trump needs to help him beat Biden. But Haley, 52, insists she will not be Trump’s running mate, and she angered Trump by taking so long to quit the nominating race. When Haley dropped out of the race earlier this month, she notably declined to say whether she would support Trump against Biden.


The Georgia congresswoman, 49, is a pugnacious, outspoken critic of Biden and defender of Trump. Trump likes her. But Greene is also a controversial figure who might be too polarizing as a running mate. She has promoted far-right conspiracy theories, voted on Jan. 6, 2021, not to certify Biden’s election victory, and once compared COVID-19 safety measures to the persecution of the Jews during the Holocaust.

(Reporting by Tim Reid; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jonathan Oatis)