Who’s The Leader of The GOP Party?

Photo by Ian Hutchinson on Unsplash

As the Republican Presidential race for the 2024 presidential election has taken off in recent days with the addition of several new candidates, former President Donald Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and former Vice President Mike Pence will speak at the North Carolina GOP convention this weekend.

Trump, who was the first to announce his third bid for the Presidency on November 15, 2022, and appears to hold about a third of the Republican electorate, will speak Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET.

DeSantis, who officially entered the race in May after months of speculation about his candidacy, is set to speak at 6:30 p.m. ET on Friday (June 9).

Pence, who announced his 2024 bid earlier this week, will speak between the two candidates at 12:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.

The annual convention will start on Thursday (June 8) and end on Sunday (June 11) and will be hosted at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, North Carolina.

It will also include other notable guests and speakers like Ralph Reed, founder and president of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, and Paul Newby, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina.

Thomas Gift, an associate professor at University College London, noted that Trump’s “headliner status” at the GOP convention “reflects a very simple reality: In today’s GOP, he’s the main attraction [and] the de facto leader of the party.”

Gift added that this didn’t mean Trump “has the 2024 nod locked up” but meant more GOP leaders presumed the “next several months” would be a “Trump coronation.”

In recent months, DeSantis has emerged as a clear runner-up in the Republican race, trying to rally Republican voters who aren’t already on Trump’s side.

The Florida Governor has also avoided presenting himself as Trump’s opponent, instead portraying himself as a continuation of Trump in policy and attitude, a strategic decision that experts say would make it harder for him to garner more votes than the previous President.