Vivek Ramaswamy, the 37-year-old fund manager who has denounced “woke” corporations and emerged as a leader in the rightwing backlash against ESG investing, has filed paperwork to run for US president, becoming the latest Republican to challenge Donald Trump for the party’s nomination in 2024.
Ramaswamy filed a “statement of organisation” and a “statement of candidacy” with the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday indicating he intended to run for president as a Republican.
The move came less than a week after Nikki Haley, Trump’s one-time ambassador to the UN, declared her candidacy for the White House by calling for “generational change” in the Republican party.
They are likely to face a crowded primary field as Republicans jockey to take on Trump, who launched his third presidential bid just days after November’s midterm elections. Other expected contenders include Florida governor Ron DeSantis — who gave high-profile speeches to law enforcement groups in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia on Monday — and Mike Pence, Trump’s former vice-president.
The latest opinion polls suggest that while Trump’s popularity is waning, he still commands the support of a plurality of the Republican party’s grassroots. Surveys consistently show that DeSantis is the most popular non-Trump candidate, while support for Pence, Haley and others is in the single digits.
Ramaswamy, meanwhile, has not registered in national polling and lacks the name recognition of his likely opponents, making many in Washington sceptical that his candidacy can gain any real traction.
Some observers nevertheless point out that with an estimated net worth of more than $500mn, the former biotech entrepreneur can afford to personally bankroll a political operation, at least in the early stages of the primary contests. Ramaswamy, a biotech entrepreneur, founded Roivant Sciences, a SoftBank-backed healthcare company, in 2014.
The author of two books — Woke, Inc. and Nation of Victims — Ramaswamy co-founded Strive Asset Management last year with the backing of billionaire PayPal founder Peter Thiel and US Senator JD Vance.
The asset manager explicitly seeks to pressure companies to abandon their pursuit of environment, social and governance goals in favour of maximising profit. As of November, it had more than $500mn in assets under management.
Ramaswamy has made several public appearances in crucial early voting states, including Iowa and New Hampshire, in recent weeks, and become a regular pundit on Fox News and other cable outlets. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
He had previously told US media that he was “strongly considering” a White House bid. Earlier on Tuesday, he posted a series of tweets calling for a range of conservative policy changes.
“End affirmative action. Abandon climate religion. 8-year sunset clauses for bureaucrats. Make political expression a civil right. Ban addictive social media under age 16. Declare independence from CCP [Chinese Communist party]. Embrace fossil fuels & nuclear. Decimate drug cartels. Do it without apology,” Ramaswamy said in one post, adding: “And that’s just as much as would fit in a single tweet. Tons more to come.”