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May 6th, 2019

So far the only declared challenger for the Republican Party is Bill Weld, the 73 year old former Governor of Massachusetts. Weld held that post from 1991 to 1997. He ran against Donald Trump once before, as the Libertarian Party's nominee for Vice President of the United States in the 2016 election, sharing the ticket with former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. In 2020, Weld is running to seek the Republican nomination for President of the United States.

William Floyd Weld was born on July 31, 1945 in Smithtown, New York. His father was an investment banker and his mother was a descendant of William Floyd, who was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Weld graduated from Harvard Law School in 1970, after previously attending Oxford where he studied economics. He served as legal counsel to the United States House Committee on the Judiciary and worked on the Watergate investigation with another future famous lawyer and politician, Hillary Rodham Clinton. In 1981 he became the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts and, later, the United States Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. Weld prosecuted a series of high-profile public corruption cases, but he resigned in 1988 in protest of alleged ethical violations by Attorney General Edwin Meese.

In 1990, Weld was elected Governor of Massachusetts and reelected by the largest margin in Massachusetts history in the 1994 election. In 1996, he was the Republican nominee for the United States Senate, but lost to Democratic incumbent John Kerry. He resigned as governor in 1997 when he was nominated by President Bill Clinton to serve as United States Ambassador to Mexico. His nomination was not approved because of opposition by the social conservative Senate Foreign Relations committee Chairman Jesse Helms, and in fact he was denied a hearing before the Foreign Relations committee and withdrew his nomination.

In 2016, he left the Republican Party to become the Libertarian Party running mate of former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson. Johnson and Weld were the first presidential ticket since 1948 to consist of two state governors. They jointly received nearly 4.5 million popular votes, the best showing ever for a Libertarian ticket, and the best for any third party since 1996. The ticket broke the Libertarian Party's record both for absolute vote total and percentage.

On January 17, 2019, Weld rejoined the Republican Party, and on February 14, 2019, Weld announced that he was launching a presidential exploratory committee for the 2020 Republican primary. In an appearance on Bloomberg News, Weld suggested that he could beat Trump in 2020 with help from independent voters and in a subsequent appearance on CNN he accused President Trump of having shown "contempt for the American people". On Monday, April 15, 2019, Weld announced his candidacy for President of the United States. He made the announcement in an appearance on The Lead with Jake Tapper.

Weld differs from many past Republican candidates on social issues. He has been strongly pro-choice for all of his career, he has been a consistent supporter of LGBT rights, as well as a supporter of same-sex marriage, which he has called a fundamental human right. He has described himself as fiscally conservative, and wants to drastically reduce government spending and balance the budget. He has also been a supporter of charter schools, and while governor of Massachusetts, he established the first twenty-five charter schools in the state.

If elected, Weld would be the oldest US President elected (he would be 75 on inauguration day), he would be the first US President to have been a registered member of the Libertarian Party, and he would be the first US President elected after being the Vice Presidential running mate on a losing Presidential ticket since Franklin D. Roosevelt. But Weld is a longshot to wrestle the nomination from the incumbent president. In a recent poll conducted in March by Monmouth University, only 8% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said they would definitely support Weld in a matchup against President Trump, while another 10% said they weren't sure but could support him. 54% said they would definitely be supporting the President.


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