Factbox-Who are the candidates running in the US presidential election?

By Costas Pitas, Susan Heavey

(Reuters) -Democratic President Joe Biden and Republican former President Donald Trump will face each other in the Nov. 5 U.S. presidential election, after a divisive contest that included an assassination attempt on Trump. 

Several third-party hopefuls are also running.

Here is a list of the candidates:

REPUBLICAN PARTY

DONALD TRUMP

Trump, 78, suffered damage to his ear after an assassination attempt in July during a campaign rally in Pennsylvania.

It was the first shooting of a U.S. president or major party candidate since the 1981 attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan.

In the moments after the shooting, Trump pumped his fist at the crowd and mouthed, “Fight! Fight! Fight!” and a day later called for unity: “In this moment, it is more important than ever that we stand United,” he wrote on his Truth Social network.

In an Oval Office address to the nation, Biden called for political rhetoric to be cooled down.

On July 15, the Republican National Convention began and it will formally nominate Trump to face Biden in what would be the first presidential rematch in nearly 70 years.

Trump picked J.D. Vance, a Republican U.S. senator from Ohio, as his running mate, elevating a politician who once criticized the former president but has since become one of his most stalwart defenders.

In May, Trump became the first former U.S. president to be convicted of a crime when a Manhattan jury found him guilty of falsifying documents to cover up a payment to a porn star to silence her ahead of the 2016 election. He says he is innocent and will appeal the conviction.

Trump’s July 11 sentencing was postponed until Sept. 18 after he asked for a chance to argue he should have been immune from prosecution following a July Supreme Court ruling that presidents are entitled to immunity from criminal prosecution for official acts.

Trump, in office from 2017-2021, has leveraged his unprecedented legal challenges to solidify support among his base, and has cast his third bid for the White House in part as “retribution” against perceived political enemies.

But after his felony conviction, 10% of Republican and 25% of independent registered voters said they were less likely to vote for him, Reuters/Ipsos polling found.

Trump also faces charges in a federal case involving efforts to subvert the 2020 election and a Georgia election interference case. He denies any wrongdoing.

A separate criminal case accusing Trump of illegally keeping classified documents after leaving office was dismissed in July, although prosecutors are likely to appeal.   

Trump is unlikely to face any other trials before the Nov. 5 election. July’s Supreme Court ruling on presidential immunity makes it improbable that Trump will be tried on federal criminal charges regarding efforts to undo the 2020 election loss to Biden before voters cast their ballots.  

Trump has refused to commit to accepting the 2024 election results or to rule out possible violence around the Nov. 5 contest or his sentencing, and is already laying the groundwork to contest a potential election loss.

He calls his supporters jailed for the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol “hostages” and “warriors,” and uses increasingly dystopian rhetoric, including calling his enemies “vermin.” 

If elected, Trump has vowed “revenge” on his political enemies and said he would not be a dictator except “on day one,” later calling that “a joke.” 

He also wants the power to replace federal civil service workers with loyalists, while a consortium of Trump-friendly think tanks touts a sweeping policy agenda known as “Project 2025” that takes aim at diversity programs and the Justice Department’s independence, among other reported plans. Trump has sought to distance himself from the plan. 

On foreign policy, Trump sparked criticism from Western leaders for saying the U.S. would not defend NATO members that did not spend enough on defense and that he would encourage Russia to attack them. He has also questioned military aid for Ukraine.

Trump has made immigration a top domestic campaign issue, vowing to carry out mass deportations with the National Guard and possibly federal troops, end birthright citizenship, and expand a travel ban on people from certain countries. 

He has referred to some migrants as “animals” who are “poisoning the blood of our country,” among other inflammatory remarks, and has not ruled out building detention camps on U.S. soil. But foreigners who graduate from a U.S. college would get a green card allowing them to stay, he said, which his campaign later said would only apply to the “most skilled” graduates who had been vetted.

On abortion, Trump takes credit for the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade and has said abortion should remain a state issue. 

While he has criticized some Republican-led state actions such as those in Florida and Arizona, he said he would allow Republican-led states to track women’s pregnancies and prosecute those who violate their state bans. Trump has said he does not support a ban on access to birth control.

He promised to eliminate Obamacare health insurance before saying on April 11 that he would not “terminate” it. On education, he has pledged to halt federal funding to schools with vaccine mandates and to eliminate the U.S. Department of Education. He has also vowed to undo much of the Biden administration’s work to fight climate change.

DEMOCRATIC PARTY

JOE BIDEN

Biden has cast himself as the country’s best hope to defend American liberties and protect democracy, saying Trump is unhinged and threatens the future of the country.

While he faced no serious challenger in the Democratic primaries, his weak performance at the first presidential debate against Trump has prompted some Democrats to call for him to step aside as the party prepares to formally nominate him.

The assassination attempt on Trump appeared to at least temporarily halt further calls for Biden to quit the race from high-profile Democrats.

Already the oldest U.S. president ever at 81, Biden must now convince his own party as well as voters that he is more fit for office than Trump, who is just three years his junior.

One in three Democrats think Biden should end his reelection bid following the debate, but no prominent elected Democrat does any better than Biden in a hypothetical match-up against Trump, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released in July.

A July Reuters/Ipsos poll, conducted after the debate but before the assassination attempt against Trump, puts both Biden and Trump on 40% among registered voters, suggesting that Biden had not lost ground immediately after his poor TV showing. 

Trump leads Biden in many battleground states, several other polls have shown. 

The economy will also likely be a major factor in determining whether Biden returns to the White House amid low approval ratings. 

While the U.S. escaped an anticipated recession and is growing faster than economists expected, voters have been disenchanted with rising food costs, higher fuel prices and elevated interest rates, even as more recent data shows consumer prices moderating and inflation cooling. 

Biden pushed through massive economic stimulus and infrastructure spending packages to boost U.S. industrial output, but has received next to no credit from voters so far.

His campaign has highlighted new semiconductor manufacturing plants, housing plansand other economic efforts. Two labor groups, the United Auto Workers union and the North America’s Building Trade Union, have endorsed him while the Teamsters have yet to announce which candidate they are backing. Three groups representing older Americans have also endorsed Biden.

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have prioritized abortion rights as a key issue while also forming a new coalition to appeal to Black voters, a critical demographic.

Biden’s handling of immigration policy has been criticized by Republicans and some Democrats as he has struggled with millions of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

In June, he signed an executive order to curb migration along the southern border. He also announced a new path for citizenship for certain immigrants in the country illegally who are married to U.S. citizens.

The president has led the response of Western governments to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, persuading allies to punish Russia and support Kyiv, including at NATO’s summit in Washington. He also secured additional funding from Congress.

Biden has provided military aid to Israel after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack while urging more humanitarian assistance for Palestinians as a May Reuters/Ipsos poll found Democrats remain divided over the issue.

He has faced criticism from many Democrats and younger voters for continuing to give weapons to Israel while largely failing to curb Israel’s deadly military offensive in Gaza. Biden has presented a new Israeli proposal for a fresh Gaza ceasefire in exchange for the release of hostages while talks to end the conflict continue.

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON

Best-selling author and self-help guru Marianne Williamson, 72, relaunched her long-shot 2024 presidential bid earlier this year focusing on “justice and love” less than one month after dropping out.

In a February statement, she said she was getting back in to fight Trump’s “dark and authoritarian vision” after earlier suspending it because she was losing “the horse race.” 

Williamson previously ran as a Democrat in the 2020 presidential primary but dropped out before voting began. 

INDEPENDENTS

ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR.

An anti-vaccine activist and environmental advocate, Kennedy, 70, is running as an independent after initially challenging Biden for the Democratic nomination but missed the deadline to qualify for the first presidential debate.

While he lags in overall polling, Kennedy could siphon votes from Trump and Biden, with a June Reuters/Ipsos poll showing he was backed by 10% of respondents.

The son of Democratic U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968 during his own presidential bid, Kennedy has drawn rebukes from his famous family, which endorsed Biden.

Kennedy, who chose wealthy lawyer Nicole Shanahan as his running mate, supports Israel and questioned a six-week ceasefire backed by Biden. 

He said he views the U.S. southern border situation as a humanitarian crisis and opposes Trump’s border wall. He has also vowed to repeal parts of Biden’s climate bill over tax breaks he says help the oil industry.

Kennedy has taken different positions on abortion rights, including restrictions on when a woman can access an abortion. He told Reuters he thought every abortion was a “tragedy” but that it should be a woman’s right throughout the pregnancy.

He has been criticized for making false medical claims over the years on vaccines but says he would still allow Americans to access them.

Asked about an alleged sexual assault, he said in July that he has “so many skeletons in my closet.” His campaign has also said Kennedy had a brain worm more than a decade ago but he has fully recovered.

Kennedy’s campaign has said he is officially on the ballot in a handful of states so far, including California, Michigan and Utah, although he faces a challenging, costly battle to be listed in all 50. 

CORNEL WEST

The political activist, philosopher and academic is making a third-party bid for president that is most likely to appeal to progressive, Democratic-leaning voters.

West, 71, initially ran as a Green Party candidate but said in October that people “want good policies over partisan politics” and declared himself an independent. He has promised to end poverty and guarantee housing.

GREEN PARTY

JILL STEIN

Jill Stein, a physician who ran under the Green Party in 2016, is trying once again in 2024.

She launched her current campaign accusing Democrats of betraying their promises “for working people, youth and the climate again and again – while Republicans don’t even make such promises in the first place.” 

Stein, 74, raised millions of dollars for recounts after Trump’s surprise 2016 victory. Her allegations yielded only one electoral review in Wisconsin that showed Trump had won.

LIBERTARIAN PARTY

CHASE OLIVER

While the Libertarian Party invited both Trump and Kennedy to speak at their convention in late May, it ultimately selected Chase Oliver, 38. Oliver ran for a Georgia state Senate seat in 2022 and garnered 2% of the vote.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas and Susan Heavey; additional reporting by Jarrett Renshaw and Stephanie Kelly; Editing by Ross Colvin, Chizu Nomiyama and Lisa Shumaker)

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