Former Mass. Gov. Switches Back to GOP for Likely Primary Challenge to Trump

‘I don’t think he’s going to find a strong reception among Republicans, if any at all…’

Former Massachusetts Gov. Switches Back to the GOP to Prepare for Potential Primary Challenge

William Weld / IMAGE: Fox News via Youtube

(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld has rejoined the GOP after a brief stint with the Libertarian Party as he considers staging a primary run against President Donald Trump in 2020.

Weld abandoned the GOP after serving as Massachusetts’s Republican governor from 1991 to 1997. He became a Libertarian and ran for vice president on a ticket with former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson in 2016.

The clerk’s office in Canton, Massachusetts, confirmed to the Associated Press that Weld has re-submitted his party registration as a Republican. Weld hasn’t officially announced a primary run, but he told WMUR-TV in New Hampshire that he would discuss his political aspirations when he visits the first primary state on Feb. 15.

Gale McHugo, Canton’s assistant town clerk, said Weld went in on Jan. 17 to change his party status and the process took “less than a minute. It was very matter of fact and the same thing we would do for any voter.”

“He did not say a word about running for president,” McHugo told the Boston Herald. “We don’t ask.”

New Hampshire Republicans are not keen on Weld, though.

“Bill Weld ran as a Libertarian candidate for vice president,” Stephen Stepanek, the chair of the New Hampshire GOP and the Trump campaign’s 2016 New Hampshire co-chair, told WMUR. “He’s a Libertarian, and if he wants to run for president as a Libertarian, that’s fine. But we don’t want him back in the Republican Party.”

The Johnson 2016 campaign pulled just over 4 percent of the vote in the “Live Free or Die” State, which was slightly higher than the national average. Even so, it is unlikely to translate to any sort of primary advantage for Weld.

“I don’t think he’s going to find a strong reception among Republicans, if any at all,” Stepanek told the Herald. “The [voters] see through people very easily.”

Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie—both of whom have voiced recent criticism of Trump—have also hinted at potential 2020 runs, either in the primary or as third-party candidates.

As far as New Hampshire, Stepanek said any GOP contender who tries to primary Trump is bound to have an uphill struggle.

“It would be very, very difficult for another candidate to come in and challenge the president,” he said. “Those voters are still here, and they are still Donald Trump voters.”