The 2024 U.S. presidential election season is getting underway as more candidates announce their White House bids. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis kicked off his long-expected campaign for the nation’s highest office on Wednesday, becoming the latest presidential hopeful.
Already, there are 10 other major candidates in the race. President Joe Biden, a Democrat, formally announced his reelection campaign in a video message on April 25. Biden’s entry means both 2020 presidential nominees are in the race, as former President Donald Trump declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination back in November.
But a Biden-Trump rematch isn’t a sure bet. Biden is poised to first face author Marianne Williamson as well as lawyer and vaccine skeptic Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in a Democratic primary. On the Republican side, Trump, DeSantis, and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott—who, like DeSantis, announced this week—could compete against former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, and a couple entrepreneurs. Other presidential hopefuls are only a matter of time.
Below is a list of major 2024 presidential candidates from multiple parties who have officially entered the race. We will update this article as new candidates announce their election bids.
Republican Presidential Candidates
Ron DeSantis, 44, is in his second term as the governor of Florida and formerly served the state’s House of Representatives. He is a graduate of Yale University, as well as Harvard Law School, and served as a Judge Advocate General officer in the U.S. Navy.
DeSantis garnered national attention for his hands-off approach to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent dismissal of restrictions like school closures and mask mandates, and he has taken an extremely conservative stance on a number of issues. According to NBC News, he has signed bills banning gender-affirming care for minors, combatting undocumented immigration, banning abortions at six weeks, and prohibiting higher education institutions from spending tax dollars on diversity programs. He has also sparred with Disney, one of his state’s largest employers, over LGBTQ rights.
Nikki Haley, 51, served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations under President Donald Trump from January 2017 through December 2018. Before that, she was governor of South Carolina from 2011 to 2017. The daughter of Sikh immigrants from Punjab, India, Haley is considered the first woman of color to be a major candidate for the Republican nomination.
Haley was the first female and first Indian American to serve as South Carolina governor. She was on the short list of possible vice presidential running mates for Trump’s 2016 campaign, despite making critical remarks about him in the past. As ambassador, she forcefully defended Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and kept the international community attuned to threats from Russia, North Korea, and Iran.
Hutchinson, 72, most recently served two terms as governor of Arkansas, leaving office in January 2023. He also served three successive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives starting in 1997. President George W. Bush appointed him director of the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2001.
A 1975 graduate of the University of Arkansas School of Law, Hutchinson is a vocal critic of Donald Trump and has suggested the former president drop out of the 2024 race amid his legal challenges. “Donald Trump says a lot things, and they don’t always appeal to the best of America,” Hutchinson said. “And so I’d rather focus on what our future is about and how we can solve problems and how we can come together as Americans.”
As Arkansas governor, Hutchinson signed several abortion restrictions into law and championed a series of tax cuts. However, he angered conservatives in 2022 when he vetoed legislation banning gender-affirming medical care for children. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he held town halls and regular news conferences to combat disinformation and encourage Arkansas residents to get vaccinated.
Johnson, 75, is a businessman and author who was notably disqualified from the 2022 gubernatorial primary in Michigan for collecting invalid petition signatures.
Johnson has no experience in elected office but placed third in the CPAC straw poll of Republican presidential nominees in March 2023. During his speech at CPAC, he described himself as pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, and “pro-freedom.”
According to The Perry Johnson Foundation, he is the founder and owner of more than 70 companies operating worldwide and is an expert in quality standards. Johnson earned a degree in mathematics from the University of Illinois with a minor in economics and resides in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. He is married with three sons.
Vivek Ramaswamy, 37, is a biotech and health care entrepreneur, and the author of the books Nation of Victims: Identity Politics, the Death of Merit, and the Path Back to Excellence and Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam. He graduated from Harvard College with a degree in biology, and he received his juris doctor from Yale Law School, according to his campaign site.
He started the company Roivant Sciences, where he oversaw the development of five drugs that went on to become FDA-approved, according to his site. In 2022, Ramaswamy co-founded the Strive Asset Management firm, for which he serves as executive chairman. That year, he also spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas. The New Yorker has called him “the C.E.O. of Anti-Woke, Inc.”
Tim Scott, 57, has represented South Carolina in the U.S. Senate since 2013 and currently serves as a ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee. He won his most recent Senate term over Democratic challenger Krystle Matthews by almost 26 points in the 2022 midterms, a potential sign of his mainstream appeal.
An alumnus of Charleston Southern University, Scott is aligned with a number of core Republican positions, including reducing government spending and restricting abortion. He is also strongly against the teaching of critical race theory. However, Scott is known for striking a more optimistic tone than many of his Republican colleagues, often quoting Christian scripture at public events.
Although Scott faces a crowded field of hopefuls for the nomination, he does have a significant financial advantage. According to the Associated Press, he is starting with more money—$22 million left over from his 2022 Senate campaign—than any other presidential candidate in U.S. history.
Donald Trump, 76, served as the 45th president of the United States, from 2017 to 2021. He was defeated by Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election. The billionaire real estate mogul and former host of The Apprentice reality television series defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
During his time as president, Trump introduced strict immigration policies, including a travel ban for several predominantly Muslim countries; withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement; rescinded the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate; oversaw the country’s initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and appointed Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. He is the first president in history to be impeached twice by the U.S. House of Representatives and is the first former president to face criminal charges.
Democratic Presidential Candidates
Joe Biden, 80, is the current president of the United States, having assumed office after defeating Donald Trump in 2020. He previously served as vice president under Barack Obama, from 2009 to 2017, and represented Delaware in the U.S. Senate, from 1973 to 2009, where he was a ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for 12 years.
Starting as president amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden oversaw the distribution of vaccines and signed into law the American Rescue Plan stimulus bill in an attempt to battle economic uncertainty. Of late, record inflation has dominated headlines. He also enacted the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, appointed Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court, and completed the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr.—Bobby, to many—is a best-selling author and environmental lawyer who has worked on issues like clean water. The 69-year-old is the son of former New York senator Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968 during his own presidential campaign, and the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy. He is also married to Emmy-nominated actor Cheryl Hines.
Kennedy spent decades of his life working on environmental causes and was president of Waterkeeper Alliance, a nonprofit he co-founded, for more than 20 years. He is an outspoken critic of vaccines, including for COVID-19. He created the anti-vaccine organization Children’s Health Defense and has repeatedly shared discredited claims linking vaccines to autism, according to CNN.
In a March 10 tweet, Kennedy said the focus of his then-unannounced campaign would be “to end the corrupt merger between state and corporate power that has ruined our economy, shattered the middle class, polluted our landscapes and waters, poisoned our children, and robbed us of our values and freedoms.”
Read More About Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Marianne Williamson, 70, is an author, political activist, and spiritual thought leader. She has written 14 books, four of which were No. 1 New York Times bestsellers, according to her business site. She previously ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.
Williamson founded Project Angel Food, a nonprofit that has delivered more than 15 million meals to ill and dying homebound patients since 1989. In 2004, she co-founded The Peace Alliance and supports the creation of a U.S. Department of Peace.
In a statement posted to her business site in February 2023, Williamson said she is running for president to “help bring an aberrational chapter of our history to a close and to help bring forth a new beginning.”
Libertarian Presidential Candidate
That’s right: Joseph Allen Maldonado, known as Joe Exotic from the 2020 Netflix documentary series Tiger King, has declared his candidacy from prison.
Maldonado, 60, is a former Oklahoma zookeeper convicted in April 2019 of attempting to hire two men to kill animal rights activist Carole Baskin, in addition to more than a dozen wildlife violations. He was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison in January 2020 but that was shortened to 21 years in January 2022.
On his campaign site, Exotic says he is running to take a stand against the “worst of the corruption that our federal government has to offer.” In an interview from prison in Fort Worth, Texas, Exotic told the New York Post on March 15 that he wants former Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney, a Republican, to be his running mate. He also ran for Oklahoma governor in 2018 and received 962 votes in the 2016 presidential election.
When Is the 2024 Presidential Election?
Election Day is November 5, 2024. Register to vote or check your registration status on the National Association of Secretaries of State website.
The Republican primary campaign season will begin on January 22, 2024, with the Iowa presidential caucuses. The first Democratic primary will be held in South Carolina on February 3, 2024.
Colin McEvoy joined the Biography.com staff in 2023, and before that had spent 16 years as a journalist, writer, and communications professional. He is the author of two true crime books: Love Me or Else and Fatal Jealousy. He is also an avid film buff, reader, and lover of great stories.
Tyler Piccotti joined the Biography.com staff in 2023, and before that had worked almost eight years as a newspaper reporter and copy editor. He is a graduate of Syracuse University, an avid sports fan, a frequent moviegoer, and trivia buff.