WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – A flood of new Republican candidates are jumping into the presidential race, which likely means party infighting is about to ramp up.

This week, the 2024 presidential field got a lot more crowded. On Wednesday, former Vice President Mike Pence launched his campaign, directly challenging his former boss.

North Dakota Governor Doug Bergum announced he’s running too.

Also, former Trump ally Chris Christie officially declared his candidacy this week.

The three new candidates join prominent Republicans Governor Ron DeSantis, Senator Tim Scott, and Former Governor Nikki Haley who are also competing for the top spot.

George Washington political science professor Dr. Todd Belt says all of the candidates now have a challenge.

“Make a name for themselves and try to generate some excitement and enthusiasm,” Belt said.

Right now, polls show Former President Donald Trump is still the Republican candidate to beat.

“Donald Trump has close to 35 to 40 percent of the Republican electorate really locked up. And the rest of these candidates are really vying for that 60 to 65 percent,” Belt said.

With so many candidates trying to win the nomination, this race could look a lot like 2016, when more than a dozen people tried to beat Donald Trump.  

“Every single one of them failed, all of them withered under his attacks. I can totally see this happening again,” Belt said.

This time around, Professor Belt says these candidates could benefit from some of Trump’s political and legal baggage.

“They might be waiting for Trump to falter or something to happen with all these cases against him and be the one there as the viable Trump alternative,” Belt said.

Ultimately, this all means more choices for Republican voters.

“You’ve got a lot of candidates you can consider if you’re not sold on Trump,” Belt said.