WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — On Monday, Republican Sen. Tim Scott officially announced his campaign.

His launch is the latest sign that the 2024 race is heating up, but many experts say Former President Trump is still the Republican candidate to beat. 

Sen. Scott made the announcement in front of a crowd of cheering supporters in his home state of South Carolina. 

“Joe Biden and the radical left are attacking every single rung of the ladder that helped me climb. And that’s why, I’m announcing today that I’m running for president of United States of America,” Scott said. 

Scott is emphasizing his personal journey from poverty to political power. He’s positioning himself as a classic conservative who can beat President Joe Biden and the Democrats. 

“They’re attacking our American values, our schools, our economy, and our security, but not on my watch,” Scott said. 

He joins a growing field of candidates trying to win the Republican nomination, including former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. 

“I’m doing this to win it. I’m doing this to save our country. I’m doing this because I don’t trust anyone else to fix it,” Haley said. 

With Trump still leading in the polls, the candidates will still have to figure out how to get ahead. 

George Washington University Political Science Professor Danny Hayes says with the election still more than a year away, the candidates still have time. 

“The big question hanging over the race of course is whether anybody can mount a significant challenge to Trump, and that remains to be seen,” Hayes said.

He expects Scott and others will try to distinguish themselves from Trump to try and win over voters. 

“I think what Scott is saying is you can have the conservatism without the baggage of Trump. And I think that’s the message he’s probably going to try and emphasize,” Hayes said. 

As the field continues to take shape, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is also expected to jump into the race later this week.