The GOP Field of Presidential Candidates Is Shrinking Fast: The Kiplinger Letter

Only five GOP candidates remain in the fight for the White House, as those struggling in the polls put their campaigns on hold.

To help you understand what is going on in the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential primaries and what we expect to happen in the future, our highly experienced Kiplinger Letter team will keep you abreast of the latest developments and forecasts (Get a free issue of The Kiplinger Letter or subscribe). You'll get all the latest news first by subscribing, but we will publish many (but not all) of the forecasts a few days afterward online. Here’s the latest…

A key difference between the 2024 Republican primaries versus 2016 is that the GOP field is narrowing rapidly, with a mere five candidates still in the running, as those struggling in the polls put their campaigns on hold. By contrast, a dozen Republicans participated in the Iowa caucuses in 2016. Voters are now more likely to unite around an alternative to Donald Trump, who succeeded in 2016 in part because opposition to him remained splintered among several candidates. 

The leading contenders to play alternative to Trump this year are Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has struggled on the campaign trail in recent months and is pinning his hopes on a good showing in the Iowa caucuses, and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who has ascended as DeSantis has fallen. Also in the mix are entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and ex-New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

But Trump is even more dominant now than he was eight years ago. Polls now show him pulling 61% of the GOP vote, on average, nearly 48 points higher than second-place DeSantis. To beat Trump, another Republican would need to score a crucial victory in either Iowa or New Hampshire and keep that momentum going.

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This forecast first appeared in The Kiplinger Letter, which has been running since 1923 and is a collection of concise weekly forecasts on business and economic trends, as well as what to expect from Washington, to help you understand what’s coming up to make the most of your investments and your money. Subscribe to The Kiplinger Letter.

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Matthew Housiaux
Reporter, The Kiplinger Letter
Housiaux covers the White House and state and local government for The Kiplinger Letter. Before joining Kiplinger in June 2016, he lived in Sioux Falls, SD, where he was the forum editor of Augustana University's student newspaper, the Mirror. He also contributed stories to the Borgen Project, a Seattle-based nonprofit focused on raising awareness of global poverty. He earned a B.A. in history and journalism from Augustana University.