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

Donald J. Trump will reveal his running mate soon: He has suggested he will unveil the pick at the Republican National Convention, which starts July 15 in Milwaukee, but it’s possible an announcement comes sooner.

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 or electoral upside: 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 potential choices.

The Leading contenders

Trump is unpredictable, but he appears to have a current top tier.

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? (2)

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.

DougBurgum

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

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

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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.

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? (4)

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.

TimScott

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

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

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.

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? (6)

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.

BillHagerty

A senator from Tennessee who used to run a private equity firm, he is making a late push for consideration.

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

Valerie Plesch for The New York Times

PROS

  • Dark-haired and blue-eyed, he has the type of look that Trump likes, and strong ties to the former president.
  • He was the Tennessee finance chairman for the Trump campaign in 2016, then helped with the White House transition by overseeing presidential appointments, including his own as U.S. ambassador to Japan.
  • Trump likes sports-team owners, and Hagerty helped bring a Major League Soccer team to Nashville, where his family is a minority owner in the team.

CONS

  • An economic adviser to former President George W. Bush, the national finance chair for Mitt Romney's 2008 presidential campaign and a state delegate for Jeb Bush’s 2016 presidential bid, Hagerty came up in the Republican establishment that Trump has long railed against.
  • Trump is weighing debate skills for potential running mates, and Hagerty declined to share a stage with his rivals during his single political campaign in 2020.
  • Hagerty was an early backer of a proposed national abortion ban, a position that Trump has not supported. Hagerty did not vote on June 5 for a bill to secure a right to contraception.

Still in the Mix

These picks would be more of a surprise, but don’t rule them out.

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? (8)

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.

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? (9)

Samuel Corum for The New York Times

PROS

  • She has proved to be a skillful debater and formidable campaigner, and has strong donor ties.
  • 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 said in May that she was “not under consideration.” He could always change his mind, but his words were pretty absolute.
  • Haley, for her part, said in the days leading up to New Hampshire’s primary election that being vice president was “off the table,” Politico reported.
  • 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? (10)

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.

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? (11)

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.

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? (12)

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