GOP contenders expecting a 'free-for-all' as they prepare to take on Trump in 2024: report
Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley (Photos via AFP)

With the midterm election just one week away, Politico reports that more than a handful of GOP lawmakers are already casting their eyes enviously at the 2024 presidential nomination should Donald Trump stumble or even if he survives his seemingly endless list of legal problems

As the report from Politico's Burgess Everett notes, possible contenders have been using appearances at 2022 campaign events across the country to build a network of allies who might be able to return the favor and give their 2024 presidential bids a boost.

According to the report, "Whether Republican senators demur or not, the 2024 presidential primaries are not far off. And for those who want to position themselves in case Donald Trump shows vulnerability or takes a pass, the last few days of the midterms amount to the race’s starting gun."

Among those who are obviously positioning themselves as Trump's successor are some of the usual suspects, including Sens. Ted Cruz (TX), Marco Rubio (FL), Tom Cotton (AR) as well as presidential race newcomers like Sens. Tim Scott (SC), Josh Hawley (MO), Joni Ernst (IA), Rick Scott (FL) and even the possibility of Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) joining the fray.

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That list doesn't even include the most prominent Republican expected to run: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

As Politico's Burgess wrote, GOP insiders expect a "free-for-all."

"No one wants to get ahead of the former president, of course. But there’s a sense among Republicans that some senators may run even if Trump does — and many more will if the former president backs off," Burgess wrote. "Even as Trump has hinted his plans to seek the nomination, there’s a wide recognition within the party that the contest could become a free-for-all. Cruz is one of the most open about his aspirations for a second White House bid. Yet as Trump stays vague on his timing, the two-term Texan says he’s also considering whether to run for Senate again in 2024, a year when Rick Scott and Josh Hawley of Missouri will also be up for reelection."

The report adds, "Like Hawley, Cruz was active in the midterms’ Senate primaries, endorsing victorious candidates Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt while backing losing hopefuls Josh Mandel in Ohio and David McCormick in Pennsylvania. Cruz also has taken an expansive interest in House races, trying to flip Democratic seats in South Texas while raising money in batches for the second cycle in a row."

You can read more here.