By Katharine Jackson
(Reuters) – Former U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to runfor the White House again in 2024 has potential rivals gearing up to take on a divisive Republican leader left bruised by his party’s midterm election losses.
Here is a look at his possible challengers for the Republican nomination:
FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP
Strategists and party leaders have said Trump, 76, remains the odds-on favorite for the Republican nomination in 2024.
But the former president had a mixed record with the candidates he endorsed in the midterm elections and some blame him for Republicans’ failure to capture control of both houses of Congress.
Trump’s candidacy comes as lawsuits over his alleged involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol and his business dealings continue to swirl around him.
FLORIDA GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS
Republican Ron DeSantis, Florida’s 44-year-old governor, could be Trump’s leading rival for the nomination.
With a strong political base and war chest behind him, DeSantis cruised to a landslide victory last week in his bid for a second four-year term as governor.
His resistance to COVID-19 restrictions, as well as clashes with liberals over LGBTQ rights, immigration and race-based discussions, have won praise from conservatives nationwide.
FORMER VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE
Republican former Vice President Mike Pence served as a loyal, prim No. 2 to the flamboyant Trump, only to have his boss turn against him when Trump supporters rioted at the U.S. Capitol. A Republican former congressman, Pence defied Trump on that day and certified Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential victory, as required by law.
Pence has walked a fine line ever since, not risking the wrath of Trump’s base.
The 63-year-old former Indiana governor is widely considered to be mulling a White House run. He campaigned for Brian Kemp, a Trump nemesis who was re-elected Georgia governor in the midterm elections.
TEXAS GOVERNOR GREG ABBOTT
Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott, endorsed by Trump in his run for a third four-year term, fended off Democratic former U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke in the midterms.
Abbott, 65, has pursued increasingly conservative policies during his second term, opposing COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates. He signed the most restrictive abortion ban of any U.S. state into law and is building a new barrier on the border with Mexico.
Although long rumored to be a potential 2024 candidate, Abbott has not addressed the issue publicly for some time.
U.S. REPRESENTATIVE LIZ CHENEY
Republican U.S. Representative Liz Cheney, 56, has vowed to do everything she can to keep Trump from returning to the White House and said she would decide soon on whether to run for president herself.
The daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, she has played a prominent role in the congressional investigation of the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol.
Cheney lost the Republican Party’s nomination for Wyoming’s single seat in Congress in August to a Trump-backed challenger after Cheney said she would not “go along with President Trump’s lie about the 2020 election.”
FORMER U.N. AMBASSADOR NIKKI HALEYA former governor of South Carolina and the daughter of Indian immigrants, Haley was the highest-profile woman in Trump’s Cabinet, serving as his ambassador to the United Nations.
Haley, 50, considered a rising Republican star, has alternately held Trump close and at bay.
She publicly criticized him during his 2016 presidential campaign and again after the Jan. 6 riot, saying his actions after the 2020 election will be “judged harshly by history.”
Her rhetoric later softened when she called him a friend who still had a role to play in the party. In June, Haley teased a 2024 run “if there is a place for me,” and said in October she would consider the idea at the start of next year.
(Reporting by Katharine Jackson; Editing by Scott Malone and Jonathan Oatis)