Who Might Donald Trump Pick as His Running Mate? (2024)

Election 2024

Who Might Donald Trump Pick as His Running Mate? (1)

By Michael C. Bender and Rebecca Lieberman

As Donald J. Trump prepares to announce his vice-presidential pick at the Republican National Convention, which starts July 15 in Milwaukee, the race among ambitious Republicans to become his running mate is heating up.

Possible contenders like Doug Burgum, Tim Scott and J.D. Vance have campaigned on his behalf with speeches that could double as auditions. Some, like Burgum and Vance, even showed their support by joining Trump at his criminal trial in Manhattan, where he was convicted on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.

Trump has weighed the pros and cons of some options with friends and advisers. His team has discussed possible parameters, like whether a woman on the ticket would help win back suburban women who abandoned him in the last election, or if choosing a person of color would be a smart choice, given the gains he saw in 2020 with Black and Hispanic men.

Either way, Mar-a-Lago courtiers generally agree that any résumé for the No. 2 spot on the ticket must include some Trump-specific requirements that defy demographics: absolute loyalty to the Trump brand, a willingness to filter every decision and public comment through a subservient lens, and the know-it-when-you-see-it “central casting” look the former president prizes.

Here’s a look at some possible contenders.

ThePolitical veterans

Household names in national politics, these are some of the figures most often floated as possible running mates.

TimScott

A senator from South Carolina, Scott ran for president but dropped out in November.

Who Might Donald Trump Pick as His Running Mate? (2)

Al Drago/EPA, via Shutterstock

PROS

  • The only Black Republican in the Senate, he is one of the party’s most prodigious fund-raisers, and one of its most well-liked figures.
  • He delivered Trump a key endorsem*nt in the days before New Hampshire’s primary election. The move dealt a blow to Nikki Haley, the former president’s strongest remaining rival, and Scott’s stirring remarks caught Trump’s attention. Trump said on Fox that he had told the senator, “You're a much better candidate for me than you are for yourself.”
  • Scott has often leaned on his faith, which could help ease evangelicals’ concerns about Trump. Some have been depressed by Trump’s eagerness to blame them for the party's losses in 2022 and by his lack of passion for their anti-abortion priorities.

CONS

  • Despite the endorsem*nt, he’s not on anyone's list of Trump's most vocal supporters.
  • Scott’s inability to produce memorable moments in three primary debates might not bode well for a potential face-off against Vice President Kamala Harris, a former prosecutor.

MarcoRubio

The Florida senator, a rival to Trump in 2016, has hummed along as a reliable Trump ally and leading Republican voice on foreign policy issues.

Who Might Donald Trump Pick as His Running Mate? (3)

Scott McIntyre for The New York Times

PROS

  • Experienced on the national stage, Rubio is a known quantity.
  • His pro-Israel, anti-Putin track record is particularly timely.
  • He is a fluent Spanish speaker, and his Cuban heritage figures prominently in his political bio.
  • Rubio and Trump have quietly had a close relationship for years. Before Trump was voted out of the White House in 2020, he was considering Rubio as a possible secretary of state nominee.

CONS

  • Rubio has never quite fulfilled the expectations that many Republicans held for him — and that he helped stoke — after his underdog Senate victory in 2010.
  • He very publicly said he didn’t want to be considered for Trump’s ticket in 2016.
  • What could disqualify him is the central role he played in a 2013 immigration overhaul effort that, even a decade later, remains anathema to the Republican base.

TomCotton

A staunch and provocative conservative, Cotton has been seen as one of the Republican Party's rising figures.

Who Might Donald Trump Pick as His Running Mate? (4)

Doug Mills/The New York Times

PROS

  • He's a decorated military veteran with a substantial foreign policy résumé.
  • Trump has shown interest in him fairly late into his deliberations over a running mate.
  • The former president has been intrigued by Cotton before: He considered him for a cabinet post.

CONS

  • He voted to certify the 2020 presidential election, which has become Trump's most important political litmus test.
  • He’s a foreign policy hawk, which might not align with Trump’s sometimes isolationist approach.

NikkiHaley

Haley, a former United Nations ambassador under Trump and a former governor of South Carolina, was his final Republican rival in 2024.

Who Might Donald Trump Pick as His Running Mate? (5)

Samuel Corum for The New York Times

PROS

  • She has proved to be a skillful debater and formidable campaigner.
  • As her state's first female governor and the nation's second governor of Indian descent, she would diversify a Trump ticket.
  • Her executive experience on economic issues as governor and her handling of foreign policy issues in Trump's cabinet could prepare her well for a debate with Harris.
  • Even though she and Trump grew increasingly bitter toward each other at the end of the primary, she said in May that she would vote for him in November.

CONS

  • Trump’s nastiness toward her during the primary — he relentlessly called her “birdbrain” — could still be a major barrier.
  • She said in the days leading up to New Hampshire’s primary election that being vice president was “off the table,” Politico reported.
  • Trump, for his part, said that Haley wasn’t presidential “timber” and that he “probably” would not pick her.
  • Her ambition could spook a man reluctant to share the spotlight.

EliseStefanik

​​Stefanik, a five-term congresswoman, has morphed from a Bush administration staff member into a prominent Trump supporter.

Who Might Donald Trump Pick as His Running Mate? (6)

Hans Pennink/Associated Press

PROS

  • A 39-year-old woman and rising Republican, Stefanik would bring youth and gender diversity to a ticket with the septuagenarian Trump.
  • She has a proven ability to reinvent herself as the political moment necessitates.
  • Her questioning of three college presidents about antisemitism turned into a bombshell moment and led to the resignations of two of them, in what was widely viewed as a victory for conservatives.

CONS

  • Her devotion to Trump may be surpassed only by her own political ambition. There’s room for only one personal brand at Mar-a-Lago.
  • She’s from New York, which despite Republican gains remains a solidly blue state.

MikePompeo

Pompeo, a former congressman from Kansas, was a fixture in the Trump administration, first as C.I.A. director and then as secretary of state.

Who Might Donald Trump Pick as His Running Mate? (7)

Al Drago for The New York Times

PROS

  • He has more high-level experience than most of the other contenders.
  • He would provide geographic balance as a Midwestern presence on the Republican ticket.

CONS

  • In his memoir about his time in the administration, Pompeo criticized the former president’s handling of Vladimir V. Putin, said Trump had a “nutty” plan to put him in charge of the Departments of Defense and State, and revealed that tough talk about China had upset Trump.
  • Pompeo had considered a 2024 presidential campaign, which Trump viewed as a sign of disloyalty. Before deciding not to run, he publicly warned Republicans to move on from “celebrity leaders” with “fragile egos.”

TheLoyalists

For any potential Trump sidekick, a track record of accomplishments is nice to have. A track record of fealty may be even more important.

J.D.Vance

The best-selling author and former venture capitalist is now a senator from Ohio, thanks largely to a Trump endorsem*nt.

Who Might Donald Trump Pick as His Running Mate? (8)

Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times

PROS

  • He and Trump resolved their differences and have become particularly close.
  • Vance is one of Trump’s most vigorous defenders, which sets him apart in a Senate populated with skeptics of the former president.
  • Both are immigration hard-liners who also share similar views on trade.

CONS

  • He’s much younger than Trump, but he wouldn’t add any gender or ethnic diversity to the ticket.
  • Ohio is no longer a presidential battleground.
  • Vance is fiercely anti-abortion, which could add to the party’s difficulties on that issue.

BenCarson

A retired neurosurgeon who ran against Trump in 2016, Carson served under Trump as secretary of housing and urban development.

Who Might Donald Trump Pick as His Running Mate? (9)

PROS

  • Carson’s gentle demeanor and devotion to his Christian faith have made him a well-liked figure in the party.
  • An African-American doctor with a hopeful story of upward mobility, Carson could help lift a Trump ticket’s appeal among Black voters.
  • He has plenty of experience fighting for Trump, including his speech at the 2020 Republican National Convention that focused on defending Trump against accusations of racism.

CONS

  • Carson’s record in Trump’s cabinet includes plenty of fodder for opponents, including accusations of lavish spending and making dismissive comments about transgender people that angered staff members.
  • His struggle to grasp foreign policy issues in 2016 contributed to the downfall of his presidential bid.
  • He has a complicated history with the truth, including acknowledging he lied about a West Point scholarship and fabricating stories about his youth. Those controversies prompted Trump to say in 2016 that voters would be “stupid” to believe Carson.

SarahHuckabeeSanders

Trump’s former White House press secretary, she parlayed the exposure that gave her into the Arkansas governor’s office.

Who Might Donald Trump Pick as His Running Mate? (10)

Doug Mills/The New York Times

PROS

  • She is a young, female Republican who is widely well-regarded in the party.
  • She learned the ins and outs of the West Wing while becoming a MAGA star as the administration’s lead spokeswoman.
  • She endorsed Trump in November.

CONS

  • Trump resented that it took her a year to endorse his 2024 campaign.
  • A minor scandal in Arkansas over the purchase of a $19,000 lectern was the sort of unforced error that presidential campaigns try to avoid.

RickScott

A senator and former Florida governor, Scott has an untarnished electoral record in one of the nation’s biggest political battlegrounds.

Who Might Donald Trump Pick as His Running Mate? (11)

Al Drago/The New York Times

PROS

  • The bromance between Scott and Trump dates back more than a dozen years.
  • He has made important connections with donors during his time running the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
  • Scott also has a personal fortune that he’s been willing to tap for political campaigns.

CONS

  • He struggles to connect with voters.
  • Scott, who is running for a second term, invites his own share of controversy, including a proposal last year to sunset all federal programs after five years that made no clear exceptions for Social Security or Medicare.

JohnRatcliffe

A former House member from Texas who served as the director of national intelligence in Trump’s administration.

Who Might Donald Trump Pick as His Running Mate? (12)

Doug Mills/The New York Times

PROS

  • A former prosecutor, Ratcliffe made a name for himself grilling Peter Strzok, an F.B.I. agent, over text messages mocking Trump before the 2016 election. Trump still talks about those texts on the campaign trail.
  • He was rated as the most conservative legislator in Texas by the Heritage Foundation.
  • He remains close to Trump and would be viewed as a solid choice for the position.

CONS

  • He turned down a chance to become attorney general when Trump approached him about the position after the 2020 election.
  • He warned the Trump White House team against trying to overturn the 2020 election, according to one staff member’s sworn testimony to Congress.
  • He is not so well known among Trump supporters that his presence on the ticket would energize the base.

KristiNoem

A governor and a former congresswoman, Noem has welcomed speculation that she could be invited to join the ticket.

Who Might Donald Trump Pick as His Running Mate? (13)

Jamie Kelter Davis for The New York Times

PROS

  • A telegenic Midwesterner, Noem could help connect with suburban women in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states where Mike Pence spent much of his time in 2016.
  • A two-term governor, she has a record of economic accomplishments in her state that could resonate with voters in 2024.
  • Trump has spoken warmly of Noem. He told Fox News in February that she “has been incredible fighting for me,” adding: “She said ‘I’d never run against him because I can't beat him.’ That was a very nice thing to say.”

CONS

  • Noem sparked weeks of cringe-inducing headlines when her new book revealed that she killed her 14-month-old dog Cricket in a gravel pit, which Republicans widely recognized as a potential death blow to her V.P. chances.
  • She has close ties to Corey Lewandowski, the longtime on-again, off-again Trump adviser, whose brushes with the law have generated unwelcome headlines for Team Trump.

TheUp-and-Comers

Lesser known on the national stage, these politicians could provide the ticket with a fresh face.

ByronDonalds

A second-term congressman who has made a name for himself in Washington as an avatar for the next generation of pro-Trump Republicans.

Who Might Donald Trump Pick as His Running Mate? (14)

Erin Schaff/The New York Times

PROS

  • He is one of the party’s relatively few Black officeholders and would add racial diversity to the ticket at a time when Republicans are seeking to draw Black voters away from Democrats.
  • Trump has taken notice of Donalds and has spoken admiringly of him to advisers.

CONS

  • He is relatively inexperienced as a politician.
  • He ran unsuccessfully for House speaker against Kevin McCarthy, who had Trump’s endorsem*nt.
  • Donalds had some run-ins with law enforcement two decades ago, including a bribery charge to which he pleaded no contest. He has said that he learned from the experience, describing what he did as the “actions of a young kid.”

WesleyHunt

A freshman in the House and a retired Army Apache helicopter pilot, he has become one of the party’s rising stars.

Who Might Donald Trump Pick as His Running Mate? (15)

Suzanne Cordeiro/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

PROS

  • Hunt is another young Black Republican seen as having a bright future, and tells a powerful personal story about growing up in a family of staunch Democrats.
  • He endeared himself to Trump on the 2024 trail in Iowa by remaining in the state for several days after the campaign had left in order to stump on Trump’s behalf.

CONS

  • He isn’t on many lists of potential Trump V.P.s, but neither was Mike Pence.
  • His inexperience may not reassure voters who are nervous about Trump's advanced age.

VivekRamaswamy

A wealthy entrepreneur, Ramaswamy built his presidential bid around his devotion to Trump, and many Republican voters responded warmly.

Who Might Donald Trump Pick as His Running Mate? (16)

Kenny Holston/The New York Times

PROS

  • Youthful and energetic, Ramaswamy could be a potent surrogate for Trump, who will spend much of 2024 tied up in court defending himself on criminal charges.
  • No 2024 presidential contender was more eager to praise Trump from the debate stage, on social media or on the campaign trail.
  • Trump has returned the adoration, saying in August that he thought Ramaswamy would make a “very good” V.P. pick.

CONS

  • He has no previous political experience.
  • Before he ended his campaign, he irritated both Republican leaders and voters: Polls show that those with unfavorable opinions of him outnumbered those with favorable opinions.
  • He’s relatively untested and unvetted compared with some of the other contenders.

NancyMace

A House member from South Carolina who was the first female military recruit to graduate from the Citadel.

Who Might Donald Trump Pick as His Running Mate? (17)

Kenny Holston/The New York Times

PROS

  • She enjoys a large media profile and has openly expressed interest in joining the ticket.
  • Mace largely aligns with Trump on social issues, and has cautioned her party against going too far in restricting access to abortion.
  • She’s politically pliable: hailed as a moderate by some, a pro-Trump warrior by others.

CONS

  • She strongly condemned Trump for the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot and has said he should be held accountable.
  • Trump recruited a primary challenger to run against her last year, and it’s unclear if they have made amends.
  • She hasn’t yet endorsed Trump’s latest presidential bid.

KatieBritt

A first-term senator from Alabama — and the state’s first woman ever elected to the office — Britt has been seen as one of the party’s young talents.

Who Might Donald Trump Pick as His Running Mate? (18)

PROS

  • Despite her roots in the old guard of the Republican establishment, Britt managed to win Trump’s endorsem*nt during her 2022 primary race — after the former president had already backed her rival in the race.
  • Her husband, Wesley Britt, is a former player for the New England Patriots, a team owned by Robert Kraft, a Trump ally.
  • Britt was one of the few people Trump highlighted by name on an otherwise dismal election night in 2022.

CONS

  • Britt was chosen to give this year’s Republican response to President Biden’s State of the Union address, a prominent platform – but then gave a tonally jarring performance that left many viewers confused.
  • Britt didn’t endorse Trump’s latest White House bid for more than a year, which has left her open to criticism from the party’s most zealous — and loudest — pro-Trump activists.
  • She has little experience in elected office and is just 42, only a few years above the age requirement of 35. She was the youngest Republican woman ever elected to the Senate.
  • Her ambition may test Trump. There is little indication Britt has been mentioned inside Mar-a-Lago as a possible running mate, and yet the buzz around her as a contender has landed her on lists like this.

TheWild Cards

They’re long shots, yes. But Donald Trump is far from a predictable politician.

TulsiGabbard

Gabbard, a former Democratic congresswoman from Hawaii who ran for president in 2020, became an independent in 2022.

Who Might Donald Trump Pick as His Running Mate? (19)

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PROS

  • She has made multiple trips to Mar-a-Lago to meet with Trump, who has privately pushed for her to be vetted and is intrigued by the idea she might help him appeal to disaffected Democrats.
  • Gabbard used her new book to show how closely aligned she is with Trump, defending him against the nearly 90 felony charges he faces and parroting some of his criticisms of U.S. support for Ukraine against Russia’s invasion.
  • She did not vote for Trump’s first impeachment — but she did not vote against it, either. Gabbard, who had resigned before his second impeachment, voted “present” during the 2019 impeachment despite publicly backing his ouster a few months earlier.

CONS

  • Gabbard isn’t a Republican. No law requires running mates to be from the same political party, but there is no recent precedent to do otherwise.
  • Almost the definition of a wild card, Gabbard took a meeting with Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian dictator, as a House member in 2017 and defended him in Congress.
  • Her right-wing positions, her speech at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference and her job as a paid contributor on Fox News may complicate the redemption narrative Trump is said to prize.

DougBurgum

North Dakota’s governor came up well short in the 2024 Republican presidential race. But he did put himself in the conversation for the party’s No. 2 slot.

Who Might Donald Trump Pick as His Running Mate? (20)

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PROS

  • Trump loves surrounding himself with status and wealth, and Burgum checks that box after selling his software company to Microsoft for more than a billion dollars in 2001. Trump praised his business acumen in a North Dakota radio interview in December.
  • Burgum showed little interest in attacking Trump during his primary race, and was the first Republican presidential contender this year to end his campaign and then endorse Trump.
  • His performance at the first primary debate will be remembered for his repeated pleading with moderators for time to talk about energy issues in North Dakota; there is no risk that he would steal the spotlight from Trump.

CONS

  • Burgum’s relative obscurity cuts both ways. Unlike Mike Pence, who brought credibility with evangelical voters, there’s no natural constituency for Burgum.
  • He’s never been tested on a national stage.

TuckerCarlson

The former Fox News anchor is widely viewed as one of the ideological godfathers of Trumpian Republicanism.

Who Might Donald Trump Pick as His Running Mate? (21)

Saul Martinez for The New York Times

PROS

  • Trump likes Carlson and has floated the possibility of adding him to the ticket. Carlson reportedly said in December that “God would have to yell at me very loud” to become Trump’s running mate, but he did not rule out the idea.
  • Both agree that the United States should have a limited role in foreign conflicts.
  • They teamed up for an interview undercutting a Republican presidential debate that Trump didn’t want to participate in and that was hosted by Fox News, which had cut ties with Carlson.

CONS

  • “I hate him passionately” was how Carlson described his feelings about Trump in a 2021 text message.
  • His ability to articulate conservative positions could outshine Trump’s.
  • He’d excite the Trump base, but could alienate many other kinds of voters.

KariLake

Lake, a prominent election denier, narrowly lost the 2022 Arizona governor’s race.

Who Might Donald Trump Pick as His Running Mate? (22)

Rebecca Noble for The New York Times

PROS

  • Few Republicans have emulated Trump’s signature style of confrontational politics better than Lake.
  • A former Phoenix local news anchor, she delivers a polished presentation of her far-right agenda.
  • She came within a percentage point of winning statewide in Arizona, one of the country’s top presidential battlegrounds.

CONS

  • Lake’s Trump impression might be a little too inspired. He is loath to share any of the attention that comes his way, let alone risk being eclipsed.
  • Adding her to the ticket would combine two of the party's most divisive figures.
  • She and Trump have exactly one electoral victory between them.

MarjorieTaylorGreene

A far-right conspiracy theorist, Greene is one of Trump’s top surrogates on the campaign trail.

Who Might Donald Trump Pick as His Running Mate? (23)

Doug Mills/The New York Times

PROS

  • Few Republicans have earned more brownie points with Trump.
  • She’s popular with the base and has become a small-dollar fund-raising powerhouse.

CONS

  • It's difficult to imagine a bigger about-face for Trump than to go from Mike Pence to Marjorie Taylor Greene.
  • Choosing her would be incredibly risky politically. And this is one area where Trump has shown little interest in rolling the dice.
Who Might Donald Trump Pick as His Running Mate? (2024)

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