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Trump, other potential GOP presidential contenders speaking at early 2024 cattle call

The road to the next Republican presidential nomination winds through Nashville, Tenn., later this week.

Former President Donald Trump is the biggest name among a handful of potential 2024 GOP White House hopefuls speaking at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual “Road to the Majority” conference, which gets underway Thursday in Music City.

The public advocacy group, founded over a decade ago by the Christian Coalition’s Ralph Reed, advocates for social conservative positions and its annual conference attracts thousands of Republican and conservative leaders, strategists, activists, and evangelical voters.

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The group touts that their gathering is “the nation’s premiere pro-faith, pro-family event” and they explain that “this annual conference is designed to empower conservative activists to fight for their values at the polls and in the public arena and to equip attendees with the knowledge and connections they need to drive engagement and voter turnout.”

While November’s midterm elections, when the GOP aims to win back the in the House of Representatives and the Senate, is at the top of the agenda at the confab, 2024 is also very much on the radar.

The group called the former president, who continuously flirts with making a 2024 bid to try and return to the White House, “a loyal friend to people of faith.”

But Trump is far from the only potential contender addressing the conference.

Also speaking are former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who served as ambassador to the United Nations during the Trump administration; former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a former congressman from Kansas who served as CIA director and later as America’s top diplomat under Trump; and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, a rising star in the GOP. 

Two other well-known Republican lawmakers who may have national ambitions are also addressing the conference – Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas.

Fox Nation will live stream the conference.

Vice President Harris South Carolina stop in spotlight

Vice President Kamala Harris returned to South Carolina on Friday for the first time since she and President Biden took office.

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And while the vice president’s main mission was to help raise money for South Carolina Democratic Party – she headlined the party’s annual Blue Palmetto Dinner in Columbia – she was also there to say “thank you” and to possibly send a signal.

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at a dinner for the South Carolina Democratic Party on Friday, June 10, 2022, in Columbia, S.C. It was Harris' first visit to a state party since taking office. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

Harris in 2019 campaigned extensively in the state – which holds the fourth contest and first southern primary in the Democrats’ presidential nominating calendar – during the the-senator’s unsuccessful 2020 White House bid. Harris ended her campaign a couple of months before South Carolina held its primary. 

But Biden’s landslide victory in the primary – where Black voters play an outsized role in Palmetto State Democratic politics – boosted Biden towards the nomination, following dismal showings in Iowa’s caucuses, New Hampshire’s primary and a distant second place finish in Nevada’s caucuses. And after securing the nomination, Biden named Harris as his running mate and their general election victory made the senator the nation’s first female and first Black vice president.

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“We see how South Carolina brings critical representation to the presidential nominating process…and we see how South Carolina Democrats set President Joe Biden and me on a path to the White House,” Harris said as she thanked the audience.

The biggest guessing game in the Democratic Party is whether the president will run for reelection. The 79-year-old Biden has said a handful of times that if his health remains good, he’ll seek a second term. If he campaigns for re-election in 2024 and wins, Biden would be 82 at his second inaugural and 86 at the end of his second term.

President Joe Biden speaks during a tour of the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security Emergency Management Center, Saturday, June 11, 2022, in Santa Fe, N.M. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

If Biden doesn’t run, Harris would be considered the front-runner for the nomination. But the vice president – like her boss – is saddled with underwater approval ratings.

Democratic South Carolina state Sen. Marlon Kimpson told Fox News that “people here are getting ready in the event there is some change of position by the president.”

And Kimpson, who was one of the first high profile South Carolina Democrats to endorse Biden during the primary campaign, emphasized that the stop by Harris in South Carolina is “a signal that if he [Biden] decides not to run, she’ll be prepared to step in and a run a campaign.”

But Kimpson noted that the vice president “has some work to do.”

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