Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas has decided to drop out of his 2024 campaign for the GOP presidential nomination, three sources familiar with the matter told CNN.
Cotton is the first high-ranking Republican to remove himself from a long list of GOP presidential hopefuls that includes former President Donald Trump, who appears to be on the verge of announcing himself.
One of the sources familiar with the matter said Cotton made the decision recently after consulting with donors, supporters, allies and his family. She told donors she ultimately didn’t want to be away from her two young sons, ages five and seven, according to a second source.
Like several other rumored GOP candidates, Cotton recently made trips to Iowa and New Hampshire — two of the first states to vote in the GOP primary. The Afghanistan and Iraq War veteran was seen by some as a strong national security contender for the party after positioning him as one of the Senate’s top China hawks.
Cotton has made it clear to donors that he remains open to serving in a future Republican administration, one of the sources said.
Cotton’s 2024 decision, first reported by Politico, comes as Trump looks to be the perfect springboard for the 2024 presidential campaign in the third week of November, if Republicans do well in the midterm elections.
Both sources said Trump’s team has specifically discussed Nov. 14 as a possible date for the announcement, which would be in the middle of a long-delayed overseas trip to Asia by President Joe Biden.
However, Trump could face major challenges from other top party figures, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
For the past two years, Trump and DeSantis have lived together in the extremes of Florida: Trump plots his next move from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach and DeSantis builds himself into a household name in the state capital of Tallahassee.
Unlike other potential 2024 candidates, DeSantis has not ruled out running against Trump in the primary, much to Trump’s chagrin.