Larry Elder: Who is the latest Republican throwing his hat into the ring for 2024?

Conservative talk radio host joins growing field of Republican candidates including Donald Trump, Nikki Haley and Asa Hutchinson

Joe Sommerlad
Friday 21 April 2023 12:58 BST
Biden says 'a vote for Larry Elder is a vote for Trump' at California recall campaign

Conservative talk radio host Larry Elder has become the latest candidate to throw his hat into the ring for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, alongside Donald Trump, former state governors Nikki Haley and Asa Hutchinson and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

Mr Elder, 70, made his announcement during an appearance on Fox News’s Tucker Carlson Tonight on Thursday evening.

“My announcement Tucker, is I’m announcing that I’m running for the presidency of the United States on your programme,” he said.

The unsuccessful 2021 California governor candidate said that he felt a “moral, religious, and a patriotic duty” to join the race for the White House, citing his family’s past experiences in the US military.

Naming policing and crime as two areas of particular concern to him, he told the host: “We’ve incentivised women to marry the government. We’ve incentivised men to abandon their financial and moral responsibility. And if I do nothing else in this race, but focus people on those two issues… I would perform this service to my country.”

He also stressed the importance of securing America’s borders, denounced Democrats for cultivating the idea that the country is “systematically racist” and said the nation’s problems were rooted in “a lack of fathers in the home”.

Mr Elder followed up the announcement with a tweet in which he said: “America is in decline, but this decline is not inevitable. We can enter a new American Golden Age, but we must choose a leader who can bring us there. That’s why I’m running for President.”

He last attempted to run for public office in 2021, when he made a failed bid to replace incumbent California Governor Gavin Newsom in a recall effort.

While Mr Elder received the most votes out of 46 people hoping to replace the governor, a majority of voters ultimately opted against removing Mr Newsom, rendering the nomination irrelevant.

It has been argued that Mr Elder’s emergence as a clear rival to Mr Newsom actually helped the governor’s case, with liberal voters unable to stomach the prospect of replacing the Democrat with a Donald Trump supporter who has opposed abortion rights, criticised the Black Lives Matter movement and denounced restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ahead of the California vote, Mr Elder also warned of election “shenanigans” in true Trump fashion.

But, he ended up conceding the result graciously and has also acknowledged that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election “fair and square” – in a departure from the MAGA denialist movement.

For his part, Mr Elder has said the experience over the recall vote proves he can muster support and that his political positions offer a real alternative for Black voters put off by the “woke” priorities of Democrats.

Mr Elder is a lawyer by background who was born in Los Angeles on 27 April 1952, the middle child of three brothers born to ex-US Marine Corps sergeant turned cafe owner Randolph Elder and clerical worker Viola Conley.

He grew up in Los Angeles’ tough South Central neighbourhood but went on to attend Ivy League school Brown University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science in 1974 before enrolling at the University of Michigan Law School in 1977.

He worked for Cleveland law firm Squire, Sanders & Dempsey after graduation before running his own firm, Laurence A Elder and Associates, throughout the 1980s, prior to his switch to media.

Larry Elder announced his own run for the White House
Larry Elder announced his own run for the White House (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Mr Elder owes his present popularity among conservatives to his long-running KABC radio programme The Larry Elder Show, which he began in 1993 and left in April 2022, as well as his frequent guest appearances on Fox News and other right-wing networks.

He was married to a doctor for two years before the couple divorced in 1994, after which he commenced a long-term relationship with Patricia Stewart from 1996 to 2012, before dating his producer Alexandra Datig, to whom he was engaged from 2013 until 2015.

His career has not been without controversy, however, with Mr Elder facing criticism in the past for remarks he has made about women.

Allegations also surfaced that he brandished a gun during an argument with Ms Datig in 2015 – a claim he has vehemently denied.

With the Republican field slowly beginning to widen – and both Ron DeSantis, Mike Pence and Tim Scott likely to join the dance – Mr Biden is expected to announce his own run for a second term as a Democrat imminently.

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