Former President Donald Trump formally launched his 2024 re-election campaign almost immediately after the 2022 midterm elections, much to the consternation of his enemies and rivals within the Republican Party.
Now one of those avowed enemies, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), has begrudgingly admitted that Trump is most likely to prevail over a potentially crowded GOP primary field of candidates and win the party’s nomination again, Breitbart reported.
However, Romney made it abundantly clear that he would not vote for the former president if he did indeed win the nomination for 2024.
“Trump is by far the most likely” to win the nomination
NBC News reported that Sen. Romney, while speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, issued a sort of warning to his fellow Republicans about the likelihood of former President Trump emerging victorious over a crowded field of candidates.
“I think President Trump is by far the most likely to become our nominee,” Romney acknowledged. “If there’s an alternative to that, it would be only realistic if it narrows down to a two-person race at some point.”
“There’s always a personal interest on the part of the campaign — particularly the campaign staff, and consultants, as well as the candidate — to stay in,” the failed 2012 GOP nominee said. “And to say, ‘Hey, look, I came in second. So I’m the person that really ought to get the nomination four years from now.'”
“And so it really is up to the donors and other influential people that know the candidate, his family or her family, to say, ‘Hey, time to move on,'” Romney added.
As for his plan if Trump does win the GOP nomination, the Utah senator said, “I won’t be supporting President Trump,” but also added that it was “very unlikely” that he would support President Joe Biden if the 2024 election ended up as a rematch of the 2020 contest.
Potential for a very crowded field of candidates
Sen. Romney’s concern about a potentially crowded GOP primary field in 2024 is legitimate, at least according to The Washington Post and a list it recently compiled of Republicans aside from former President Trump — and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, who recently launched her campaign — who were presumed likely to announce their candidacy in the coming weeks and months.
The top main contender continues to be Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, even as he’s given no indication that he intends to run, and he is followed by a couple of former Trump administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
There are also a handful of current and former Republican governors who have signaled interest in running, including New Jersey’s Chris Christie, Maryland’s Larry Hogan, Arkansas’ Asa Hutchinson, South Dakota’s Kristi Noem, New Hampshire’s Chris Sununu, and Virginia’s Glenn Youngkin.
In addition, there are also a few current and former members of Congress who might throw their hats in the ring, such as former Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Sens. Tim Scott of South Carolina and Ted Cruz of Texas, among potentially others.
The field could narrow quickly
That crowded hypothetical field may not matter, though, and Sen. Romney may get his wish of a swiftly thinned-out crop of candidates, if Morning Consult‘s tracking polls on prospective Republican candidates are accurate, at least.
As of Tuesday, Trump leads the field with 47 percent and is followed by DeSantis at 31 percent and Pence at 7 percent, with all other possible candidates garnering just 3 percent or less of support among potential GOP primary voters.