Trump’s 2024 presidential announcement: One of the earliest in modern history

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Trump’s 2024 presidential announcement came earlier than almost any other in modern history

If it feels like former president Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president early in the cycle, that’s because he did — at least compared with other presidential candidates of the 21st century.

Trump’s announcement on Tuesday came 721 days before the general election scheduled for Nov. 5, 2024. More than 75 percent of major party presidential candidates since 2000 have announced their candidacies between 500 and 700 days before Election Day, a Grid analysis found.

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Only two other candidates have announced earlier in the cycle: John Delaney and Andrew Yang in 2020.

Higher-profile candidates who face the best odds of winning their party’s nominations have typically announced candidacies in the early months of the year prior to the election, Grid’s analysis found. Among the eight candidates who were successful in winning the Democratic and Republican nominations for the presidency since 2000, only two — Barack Obama in 2008 and George W. Bush in 2000 — announced their candidacies earlier than 600 days before the general election.

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Noting Trump’s well-documented propensity to portray himself as a victim of political “witch hunts,” legal experts have said Trump’s early announcement this week could complicate decisions about whether to prosecute him. As a candidate, Trump could claim any attempted federal prosecution is coming at the hands of a Justice Department that reports to President Joe Biden, a potential general election rival. Trump is currently at the center of multiple investigations at the state or federal level surrounding his political and business activities.

Trump’s announcement on Tuesday also cut against the grain of his own political habits. He announced his candidacy in the 2016 presidential election just 511 days before Election Day. He officially launched his 2020 reelection campaign on June 18, 2019 — 504 days before Election Day.

Among candidates who would go on to win their party nomination, Obama’s Feb. 10, 2007, announcement was the earliest, coming 633 days before Election Day 2008.

In many cases, the longer the odds a presidential candidate has faced, the earlier their announcement.

While high-profile candidates, especially incumbents, don’t have to introduce themselves to the public, lower-profile candidates often need that extra time. When Obama announced his candidacy in February 2007, he was only two years into his first term in the Senate. His opponent, Sen. John McCain, who was already in his fourth term, announced 74 days later.

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Former congressman John Delaney announced his candidacy for the 2020 presidential race on July 28, 2017 — 1,194 days before the election. Delaney visited every county in Iowa but cited low poll numbers when he suspended his campaign on Jan. 31, 2020, three days before the Iowa caucuses.

Trump’s timing is particularly notable considering he’s a former president who’s universally known and has raised millions through his PAC since he left office.

Thanks to Lillian Barkley for copy editing this article.

  • Marc Lajoie

    Contributing Senior Data and Visualizations Reporter

  • Steve Reilly
    Steve Reilly

    Investigative Reporter

    Steve Reilly is an investigative reporter for Grid focusing on threats to democracy.