Another politician has announced that they’re running in 2020. This time it’s Bill Weld, the former governor of MA, and Gary Johnson’s running mate on the 2016 Libertarian ticket.
Welcome to the 2020 circus, Bill Weld. The former Massachusetts governor, 73, initially announced on February 15, and then formally on April 15, that he would be challenging President Donald Trump in the primaries as a Republican candidate. “Ours is a nation built on courage, resilience, and independence. In these times of great political strife, when both major parties are entrenched in their ‘win at all cost’ battles, the voices of the American people are being ignored and our nation is suffering,” he said in a statement on April 15. Here’s what you should know about Weld before the games begin:
1. He’s running because he wants to better the Republican Party: “I hope to see the Republican Party assume once again the mantle of being the party of Lincoln. It upsets me that our energies as a society are being sapped by the President’s culture of divisiveness in Washington,” he said February 15 in New Hampshire. “Because of the many concerns I’ve talked about today, I’ve established an exploratory committee … as a Republican in the 2020 election.” He formally announced that he was joining the presidential race two months later, on April 15, stating, “It is time for patriotic men and women across our great nation to stand and plant a flag. It is time to return to the principles of Lincoln — equality, dignity, and opportunity for all. There is no greater cause on earth than to preserve what truly makes America great. I am ready to lead that fight.”
2. He’s the first Republican to challenge Trump in the primaries. Plenty of democrats have already announced that they’re running in 2020, but Weld is the first republican to try to knock Trump out of the race during the primaries. He may have a harder time doing so than he thinks, however. Per CNN, sitting presidents are generally only in trouble when their approval rating within their party is below 75%. Trump is currently sitting at 89% nationally among republicans.
3. He was the Governor of Massachusetts from 1991 to 1997. Weld resigned in 1997 after President Bill Clinton nominated him to be the US ambassador to Mexico. He later withdrew his name after he was blocked from a Senate hearing by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He also ran for senator of Massachusetts in 1996, but lost to John Kerry. Later, he moved to New York and ran for governor in 2005, losing.
4. He ran for vice president in 2016. No, really. Weld ran on the Libertarian ticket with Gary Johnson in 2016, making them the first two former governors to run as Libertarians since 1948. While they, of course, lost, they received 4.5 million votes — the most votes ever for a Libertarian ticket. That’s actually the best any third party has done since the 1990s.
5. Though he’s a Republican, he has a history of supporting Democrats. Though he was literally running against her in 2016, Weld publicly supported for Hillary Clinton, even telling Rachel Maddow at one point that he was “not sure anybody is more qualified” than her to be president. He served as Mitt Romney‘s co-chair in New York when he ran for president in 2008, but after Romney dropped out, he endorsed Barack Obama for president — not John McCain.