2024 will be here before we know it, and a crowded presidential field is already taking shape. Here is a list of candidates on both sides of the aisle, though expect to see more names crop up (and drop off) as the race progresses:
Joe Biden (D)
President Biden formally announced his re-election campaign on April 25, exactly four years to the day after he first declared his candidacy in 2019. "Freedom. Personal freedom is fundamental to who we are as Americans. There's nothing more important. Nothing more sacred," the president said at the start of a three-minute launch video. "Around the country, MAGA extremists are lining up to take down those bedrock freedoms." This is "not a time to be complacent," he continued, "and that's why I'm running for re-election." Should the president succeed in reclaiming the White House, he will be 86 at the end of his second term.
Donald Trump (R)
Months before his legal fortunes took a turn for the worse, former President Donald Trump stood before an adoring crowd at his Mar-a-Lago estate and made his third consecutive run for president official. "For millions of Americans, the past two years under Joe Biden have been a time of pain, hardship, anxiety, and despair," he told the room full of Republican aides and heavyweights. "In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States." The ex-"Apprentice" star announced early, before most other Republican challengers, presumably to fend off rivals and grant him some extra time to woo donors. So far, that strategy seems to be paying dividends — especially when it comes to Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor thought to be the former president's biggest competition.
Larry Elder (R)
His moonshot at the California governorship may not have gone as planned, but Larry Elder, a conservative talk radio host, has decided to give the whole election thing another try. "America is in decline, but this decline is not inevitable," he wrote on Twitter on April 20. "We can enter a new American Golden Age, but we must choose a leader who can bring us there. That's why I'm running for president." Speaking with Fox News' Tucker Carlson, Elder said his bid is motivated at least in part by his family's history of military service. "I'm the only one who didn't serve, and I don't feel good about that," he told the since-ousted host. "I feel I have a moral, a religious and a patriotic duty to give back to a country that's been so good to my family and me."
Ron DeSantis (R)
After weeks of rabid speculation, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis entered the 2024 presidential race on May 24, announcing his bid in conversation with Twitter owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. "American decline is not inevitable, it is a choice. And we should choose a new direction — a path that will lead to American revitalization," DeSantis said of his decision. "I am running for president of the United States to lead our great American comeback." In the early days of his presumed candidacy, DeSantis was hailed as a potential Trump slayer who could appeal to electorally-vital swaths of anti-MAGA independent and GOP voters. But that was weeks ago. Though he remains Trump's rival in chief, he has since lost some of the mojo (and post-midterm momentum) that made him so formidable in the first place. Case in point: A CBS News-YouGov poll released May 1 saw DeSantis trailing Trump in a hypothetical GOP primary by 36 points.
Nikki Haley (R)
Former South Carolina governor and ex-Trump administration official Nikki Haley tossed her hat into the ring on Feb. 14, after claiming she wouldn't run in the upcoming election cycle should Trump decide to do the same. "Republicans have lost the popular vote in seven out of the last eight presidential elections. That has to change," Haley said in a roughly three-minute launch video. "Joe Biden's record is abysmal, but that shouldn't come as a surprise. The Washington establishment has failed us over and over and over again," she continued, highlighting her work as governor while echoing a familiar (and potentially loaded) refrain: "It's time for a new generation of leadership." Per Politico, Haley, 51, had also hinted at her presidential ambitions back in January, telling Fox News that "when you're looking at the future of America, I think it's time for a new generational change. I don't think you need to be 80 years old to go be a leader in D.C."
Asa Hutchinson (R)
Asa Hutchinson, the former Republican governor of Arkansas, is hoping to win over a more moderate swath of anti-Trump GOP voters, an ambition made evident by his urging the former president to drop out over an indictment in New York. "I do think that's too much of a sideshow and distraction," Hutchinson said of the case, "and [Trump] needs to be able to concentrate on his due process." As a candidate, the former governor has "robust conservative credentials," but has "occasionally departed from party orthodoxy," said The Week's Joel Mathis, citing Hutchinson's veto of legislation that would block transgender children from receiving gender-affirming care. Another example, as highlighted by FiveThirtyEight: When Arkansas' incredibly-restrictive abortion ban went into effect following the fall of Roe v. Wade, Hutchinson said "he regretted that [the law] didn't include more exceptions, such as those for rape and incest." He made his campaign official on April 26, appealing to voters on the economy, in particular.
Vivek Ramaswamy (R)
If you hate the word "woke," Vivek Ramaswamy may be the presidential candidate for you. An entrepreneur and the author of "Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America's Social Justice Scam", Ramaswamy has dedicated much of his brain power over the years to debunking "wokeness," which he believes is corrupting traditional American values and weakening our society. "We've celebrated our 'diversity' so much that we forgot all the ways we're really the same as Americans, bound by ideals that united a divided, headstrong group of people 250 years ago," Ramaswamy tweeted alongside his launch video on Feb. 21. "I believe deep in my bones those ideals still exist. I'm running for president to revive them." Anything can happen, of course, but it's worth noting that Ramaswamy's bid is considered quite a long shot.
Tim Scott (R)
South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott officially debuted his presidential bid on May 22, weeks after announcing the launch of an exploratory committee. "From the time the sun goes down until the sun comes up, Joe Biden and the radical left are attacking every single rung of the ladder that helped me climb. And that's why I'm announcing today that I am running for president of the United States of America," he said at an event at Charleston Southern University. Already, the lawmaker boasts backing from GOP heavyweight Sen. John Thune (S.D.), but he lacks the same degree of national name recognition as other candidates.
Corey Stapleton (R)
Speaking of long shots, former Montana Secretary of State (and country artist) Corey Stapleton announced his bid for the GOP nomination on Nov. 11, 2022, with a campaign slogan of "pay it forward." "We're failing our children and grandchildren by racking up massive national debt, stealing part of their future. Our kids deserve the freedom and prosperity that we older Americans inherited. The buck stops here," he said in a press release. Prior to his presidential bid, for which he plans to run a grassroots campaign, Stapleton served in the Montana state senate from 2001 to 2009 and as Montana Secretary of State from 2017 to 2021. He also served in the U.S. Navy from 1986 to 1997.
Marianne Williamson (D)
Love or hate her, Marianne Williamson is back. Following an unsuccessful White House attempt in 2020, which saw her drop out of the race almost a full year before Election Day, the self-help author launched a challenge against Biden roughly a month before the president had even made clear his own plans. "We all owe President Biden a debt of gratitude for defeating President Trump in 2020, but with the things that they're going to be throwing at us in 2024, we need to submit to the American people an agenda of fundamental economic reform, universal health care, ... and a guaranteed living wage," among other initiatives, Williamson said in a March 4 announcement video. "These are things that are considered moderate positions in every other advanced democracy. But in the United States, people have been trained to expect too little." Like Ramaswamy, Williamson's chances of winning the nomination are believed low — though she did manage to garner doubt-digit support against the president in a survey conducted March 27-29, 2023 by Echelon Insights.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (D)
An environmental lawyer as well as the son of late U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy — yes, that one — RFK Jr. is perhaps best known for his support of anti-vaccine rhetoric, beliefs that have been vehemently denounced by his own family. Even so, the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy launched his presidential campaign in Boston on April 19. "My mission over the next 18 months of this campaign and throughout my presidency will be to end the corrupt merger of state and corporate power that is threatening now … to impose a new kind of corporate feudalism in our country; to commoditize our children, our purple mountain's majesty; to poison our children and our people with chemicals and pharmaceutical drugs; to strip-mine our assets; to hollow out the middle class and keep us in a constant state of war," he said in his speech. It's unlikely this legacy candidate snags the nomination, though he has already managed to secure a decent chunk of support, proving himself a potentially difficult (and even embarrassing) roadblock for Biden. And while Republicans might be all too happy to elevate him as a result, The Washington Post's Aaron Blake thinks these early poll numbers might be inflated by Kennedy's golden last name.
Updated May 25, 2023: This article has been updated throughout.