Weld bets on New Hampshire to fuel long shot bid against Trump

Weld bets on New Hampshire to fuel long shot bid against Trump
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Former Massachusetts Gov. William WeldWilliam (Bill) WeldVermont governor, running for reelection, won't campaign or raise money The Hill's Campaign Report: Amash moves toward Libertarian presidential bid Libertarians view Amash as potential 2020 game changer for party MORE (R) is betting on undeclared voters in New Hampshire to fuel his long shot challenge against President TrumpDonald John TrumpSecret Service members who helped organize Pence Arizona trip test positive for COVID-19: report Trump administration planning pandemic office at the State Department: report Iran releases photo of damaged nuclear fuel production site: report MORE, believing the state’s fierce independent streak and potential for cross-over voters could turn him into a contender after the Feb. 11 primary.

Weld faces astronomically long odds in his effort to win New Hampshire. Trump’s grip on the Republican Party is as tight as ever.

Over the course of 120 events Weld has attended across the Granite State over the past year, he said there’s been no evidence to suggest that Trump’s voters are warming to him as an alternative.


However, Weld says he’s gaining traction among left-leaning independents and undeclared voters who are eligible to vote in either party’s primary in New Hampshire.

“When people say, ‘how are you going to turn around those die-hard Trumpers’ — I’m not,” Weld said in an interview at The Hill’s office. “My job is to enlarge the electorate of people who vote in the Republican primary.”

Weld said he and his wife have been throwing boutique “soap parties” to convince independents to cross over on primary day to cast a ballot against Trump.

The soap is so voters who become independents for a day can “take a long hot shower and go back to being a Democrat” after casting a ballot against Trump in the GOP primary, Weld said.

Weld faces near impossible odds in his quest for the nomination.

A WBUR survey of New Hampshire from last month found Trump at 74 percent support, against 9 percent for Weld.


The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC) combined to raise more than $463 million in 2019. The Weld campaign brought in about $1.3 million in the first three quarters of 2019.

About a half-dozen states will not even hold GOP primaries this year, and the RNC has taken other steps to head off a potential primary challenger as well.

But Weld says the bar for success is so low that he’s set up to shock the world on primary day in New Hampshire.

The “wise guys,” Weld said, expect him to get only 1 or 2 percent in New Hampshire, so a 10 percent showing or better might be all he needs.

“If I got 20 percent, they’d be like, holy shit, what’s happening here?,” Weld said.

Regardless, Weld said he’s in the race for the long haul to ensure that Republicans have a candidate running in the unlikely case Trump is removed from office by the Senate or some unforeseen political pressure chases him from the ballot.

“Unless the roof falls on my head, I’ll keep going as long as I can,” Weld said.

Weld, who ran on the Libertarian Party ticket with former New Mexico Gov. Gary JohnsonGary Earl JohnsonWhere Biden, Trump stand in key swing states Amash decides against Libertarian campaign for president The Hill's Campaign Report: Amash moves toward Libertarian presidential bid MORE in 2016, said if he does not win the GOP nomination, he will not run as a third-party candidate again.

Rather, Weld said he could happily support former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden chips away at Trump's fundraising advantage The Memo: Trump grows weak as clock ticks down Nina Turner addresses Biden's search for a running mate MORE in a matchup against Trump. Weld even volunteered to campaign for Biden and believes he’d be an effective surrogate for the campaign in convincing moderate Republicans to reject Trump.

“They could use me if they want crossover votes and I’d be there,” Weld said.

The former Massachusetts governor said he likes and admires Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Watchdog accuses Commerce of holding up 'Sharpiegate' report | Climate change erases millennia of cooling: study | Senate nixes proposal limiting Energy Department's control on nuclear agency budget Sanders calls for social distancing, masks and disinfection on planes as flights operate at full capacity Nina Turner addresses Biden's search for a running mate MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden chips away at Trump's fundraising advantage Warnock raises almost M in Georgia Senate race in second quarter The Hill's Morning Report - Trump lays low as approval hits 18-month low MORE (D-Mass.), but would have a “tough” time supporting either of them, believing their progressive politics are out of step with where most of the country is.

And he’s worried about how a candidate from the left would fare in a head-to-head matchup against Trump.

“I think it’d be tight and I don’t want it to be tight,” Weld said.

Weld also said he’d also be happy if either Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashMichigan candidate's daughter urges people not to vote for him in viral tweet Can Trump break his 46 percent ceiling? NFL to close offices for Juneteenth, making it an official league holiday MORE (I-Mich.) or former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee secured the Libertarian Party’s nomination.

Regardless, Weld says he wants Trump out of office at all costs. He believes the president should be removed from office immediately by the GOP-controlled Senate.

“I think he should be removed from office right now by the Senate and we can all get back to our normal lives,” Weld said. “I think that’s what the founders would say. This is precisely the conduct they were most worried about …they were thinking about someone who would interfere with the structure of government.”

Weld says he thinks GOP senators stick with Trump out of “fear of retribution” from the president and his supporters.

“It’s fear and it’s fueled by an obsession with getting reelected,” he said.

Weld is warning Senate Republicans that absolving Trump of wrongdoing in the impeachment trial will backfire, and that instead, the GOP will pay a price at the ballot box for not removing him from office.

When asked if he thinks Republicans will lose the Senate, Weld responded: “I think it’s quite likely.”