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Bill Weld

R

Weld in the news

  • September 24, 2019: Walsh and Weld debated during an event hosted by Business Insider. The debate was not sanctioned by the Republican Party.
  • September 23, 2019: Weld appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
  • September 24, 2019: Weld attended a debate on Sept. 24, 2019. Trump was invited but did not respond. Business Insider streamed the event live.
  • September 20, 2019: Weld will also speak at Georgetown University’s presidential candidate forum on climate change.
  • September 17, 2019: Weld spoke about his upbringing and college years during WMUR’s “Candidate Café” series in New Hampshire.


Biography

William Weld served as the Republican governor of Massachusetts from 1991 to 1997. Weld announced that he was running for president of the United States on April 15, 2019.

He announced that he had formed a presidential exploratory committee on February 15, 2019. Weld focused the lead-up to his run on criticisms of President Donald Trump's personality and economic policies, saying the president was paying more attention to dividing people than addressing the problem of overspending or preparing to replace jobs that will be lost to automation in the near future.

Weld was a Libertarian candidate for vice president of the United States in 2016.

Weld was born in 1945 and grew up in Long Island. He received a bachelor's degree in classics from Harvard College, graduating summa cum laude. He then received a diploma in international economics from Oxford University before returning to Harvard to attend law school, where he received a J.D.

Weld clerked for a year at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court before entering private practice at the law firm Hill & Barlow in Boston. In 1981, he was appointed U.S. attorney for Massachusetts under Republican President Ronald Reagan. He served until 1986, when he assumed the position of assistant U.S. attorney general at the Department of Justice's criminal division. He left the Department of Justice in 1987.

Weld was elected governor of Massachusetts in 1990, becoming the first Republican to win a gubernatorial election in the state in 20 years. Weld beat Democratic candidate John Silber by 4 points. In 1994, he was re-elected with 71 percent of the vote.

Weld ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1996. He resigned as governor in 1997 to pursue a nomination by President Bill Clinton (D) as the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, a position to which he was not confirmed. He then re-entered private practice in New York. Weld ran unsuccessfully for governor of New York in 2006. He withdrew from the Republican primary after the party endorsed John Faso (R) and ran instead as a Libertarian, receiving 2 percent of the vote in the general election.

Weld ran for vice president of the United States in 2016 on the Libertarian ticket with Gary Johnson as the presidential candidate.

Education

  • 1966: Bachelor's in classics, Harvard College
  • 1967: Diploma in economics and political science, Oxford University
  • 1970: J.D., Harvard Law School
Elections

2020

Presidency

An election for president of the United States will be held on November 3, 2020. Weld announced that he was running for president on February 15, 2019.

2016

Weld was running as a Libertarian candidate for vice president of the United States in the 2016 election. The Libertarian candidate for president, former Republican New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, announced that Weld would join his campaign on May 19, 2016.

U.S. presidential election, 2016
Party Candidate Vote % Votes Electoral votes
Democratic Hillary Clinton/Tim Kaine 48.3% 65,844,969 227
Republican Green check mark transparent.pngDonald Trump/Mike Pence 46.2% 62,979,984 304
Libertarian Gary Johnson/Bill Weld 3.3% 4,492,919 0
Green Jill Stein/Ajamu Baraka 1.1% 1,449,370 0
- Other 1.2% 1,684,908 7
Total Votes 136,452,150 538
Election results via:
Note: Trump and Clinton were projected to receive 306 and 232 electoral votes, respectively. Seven electors, however, cast votes for other candidates. Read about what happened here. The results listed above are based on reports from state secretary of state offices and election boards.

2006

Weld entered the race for governor of New York in 2006 as a Republican candidate. He lost the nomination to his competitor John Faso, with analysts stating that he was too moderate to appeal to New York's conservative right. In April 2006, Weld announced he would seek the Libertarian nomination for the gubernatorial race, winning the nomination that same month. Weld lost to Democrat Eliot Spitzer, who secured 70 percent of the vote over Faso's 28 percent; Weld received less than 2 percent.

1996

In 1996, Weld ran as a Republican for a seat representing Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate. He was defeated by incumbent Senator John Kerry (D) in the general election by a 7 percentage point margin of victory.

1994

Weld won re-election to a second term as governor of Massachusetts in 1994 by the largest margin in Massachusetts history, garnering 71 percent of the vote. He ran against challenger Mark Roosevelt (D), great grandson of Theodore Roosevelt.

1990

Weld successfully ran for governor of Massachusetts in 1990, defeating Democratic challenger John R. Silber by a 4 percentage point margin of victory. The Massachusetts secretary of state declared the turnout for the election, which was 70 percent, the highest since 1962. Weld's victory was considered significant in a largely liberal state that hadn't elected a Republican governor in 20 years.

1978

Weld ran for Massachusetts attorney general in 1978, losing to incumbent Democrat Francis Bellotti.

Endorsements
Joey Johnson endorsed
Articles

What Past Also-Rans Can Teach GOP Challengers to Trump

Sep. 16

When the results were finally in, when there was no more hope, agents from his Secret Service detail took him away. They sent him into surgery. “I didn’t drop out until after the California primary, and then I went right to the hospital because I was going to have open-heart surgery,” remembers Pat Buchanan, the 80-year-old conservative who pioneered “pitchfork populism” nearly three decades ago. Buchanan brought that pointy farm tool right up on stage, campaigned on a motto of “America First,” and scared the hell out of an incumbent U.S. president from his own party. Then the heart valve started leaking, and then the votes stopped coming, and then the insurgency started crumbling. But the heart didn’t cost him, Buchanan tells RealClearPolitics. No, he knew all along that it was “a bit of a problem” and credits the medical diagnosis as motivation, not a detriment. The real trouble was “that party nonsense that kept us off the ballot in South Dakota.” It was June of 1992 when Buchanan came to after surgery. Ronald Reagan, his old boss, called to cheer him up. George H.W. Bush, his old friend, did not. Maybe that was because Buchanan, a grizzled White House veteran of two Republican administrations and prominent conservative columnist -- and also the recipient of a new artificial heart valve -- had tried knocking him off. Running for president is hard. Dethroning a sitting president in the primaries is almost impossible. Plenty have tried. All have failed. So why do so many keep taking the leap when history says they will lose? The list now includes former South Carolina Rep. Mark Sanford, former Chicago radio show host (and one-term congressman) Joe Walsh, and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld. Each is lining up for a chance to compete for the 2020 GOP nomination in an environment in which 88% of the party faithful back President Trump. Those party faithful seem to care less about tweet outbursts and controversies and more about tax cuts and judicial appointees. Still, the current crop of challengers is looking to the template laid down by Buchanan and two other presidential long shots who spoke with RealClearPolitics. Pat Buchanan jumped Bush when the 41st president was stumbling. As a recession loomed and taxes increased, his poll numbers tumbled from a post-Persian Gulf War high in the upper 80s to a low in the 40s. “There was a real vacuum and dissatisfaction among those on the Reagan Right,” Buchanan recalled, and so the old Nixon operative entered the primary and headed to New Hampshire. He organized his campaign “like a little Indian raiding party” to make the most of limited resources and to turn the screws on Bush for “all these new regulations and all this new spending." “And my ambition was basically this: to do exceedingly well in New Hampshire, then defeat the president in one or two primaries, so that Bush – who, there was talk that he wouldn’t run again and his wife didn’t want him to run again -- would have a difficult time getting reelected,” he said. It worked, at least for a little while. After Buchanan finished second with 38% of the vote in the New Hampshire primary, The Manchester Union Leader turned Bush’s 1988 campaign promise on its head. The front page declared: “Read Our Lips!” Buchanan would not follow up that headline-inspiring second-place finish with another strong showing in South Dakota. Party machinery kept his name off the ballot. Momentum lost was never regained after the insurgent missed what was then the second-in-the nation primary. Then it was over. “We pretty much got wiped out on Super Tuesday. You realized you just couldn’t do it,” Buchanan says. But could someone else do it? “We are going to find out, aren’t we?” he laughs. “To make a serious run against the president of the United States, all the stars have to be in alignment, and I doubt if you can do that again,” Buchanan muses. The “also-ran” subset of presidential primary challengers includes some prominent names. Teddy Roosevelt couldn’t win this way, he notes, and neither could Ronald Reagan — which “isn’t bad company to be in.”  After his bulldozing, Buchanan’s populist ideals remained mostly buried. Decades later, another candidate unearthed his “America First” mantra with more success. Reagan didn’t have to wait that long. The California governor and anti-communist crusader mounted his first bid for the presidency in 1976 when the country was buying pet rocks and sporting polyester suits. “It just really sucked,” remembers Reagan biographer Craig Shirley. “America couldn’t get anything going; nothing seemed to work.” A nationally recognized name with clean hands post-Watergate, “Reagan steps into this and says, ‘Something needs to be done; the status quo is no longer acceptable,’” Shirley tells RCP. His pitch was simple and, at that time, still new: “Government is not the answer to your problems; the answer is to take power and give it back to the individual because you know best.” It was a message salient enough among the GOP base to force a fight at the convention. It was not, however, enough to win, even for a candidate as charismatic as Reagan. According to Shirley, who would later work to elect the California Republican in 1980, the enduring lesson is that “naked inside power will always beat outside political power.” While the goal was the White House, even in defeat the conservative did get one thing: a speech at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Miss. A monotone President Gerald Ford invited his challenger to the podium to make his concession. A vibrant Reagan dazzled with a seemingly impromptu speech. Less than six minutes later, the crowd was enraptured, and one woman was reported to gasp, “My God, we’ve nominated the wrong man.” “Hearts are with Reagan,” blared a headline in The Missouri Times the next day, summing up reaction to the speech of the also-ran. More than four decades later, Shirley now notes that “by running in 1976, Reagan was running to the right and pulling the Republican Party to the right with him.” By 1980, he had perfected his message and won. McMullin’s Gambit The current crop of candidates hopes to be so fortunate. Though they will be competing in the primary, instead of running as third-party options in the general election, their fates seem more likely to follow that of the last candidate who tried to take on Trump from the right. Evan McMullin just wanted to make a point. With a resume that included stints at the CIA and as a congressional staffer, the then-40-year-old congressional staffer enlisted in the Never Trump movement early on and tried to find someone, anyone, who would take on the nominee. Finding no takers, McMullin entered the race himself as a third-party candidate, mostly by campaigning on the cable news circuit. For a while the strategy was to deny both Trump and Hillary Clinton the votes they needed in the Electoral College. The Utah native believed that if he could win just enough votes in his Mormon-heavy state to force the race into the House of Representatives, there would be a sort of modern replay of the “Corrupt Bargain” that made John Quincy Adams the sixth president. This, of course, never came close to happening. The more basic goal, McMullin tells RCP three years removed, was “defending our core principles,” a grab-bag phrase that he used repeatedly. “I thought Trump was clearly an aspiring strongman, demagogue, and a politician who rejected conservative and American values to empower himself. I knew that was dangerous for the country,” McMullin says. “So, I felt that on the most basic level, someone had to stand up and defend those principles.” This meant starting a campaign without much of a budget and with a candidate unknown outside of Beltway happy hours. Challenging Trump from the right, McMullin argues, was important enough to risk making Hillary Clinton president. In his telling, putting a Clinton in the White House for a third term might not have been so bad. Had things gone differently, had his campaign denied Trump the presidency, McMullin envisions a stronger Republican Party emerging from the ashes after four years. “We might have had, say, a Paul Ryan or a Marco Rubio in their pre-Trump form as president with a strengthened, a healthier party for the long term,” he muses. Eliciting a Kinder, Gentler Trump? Trying to convert a septuagenarian with a Twitter habit into a genteel country club Republican won’t be easy. But it is not out of the realm of possibility, according to Never Trump godfather Bill Kristol, who has that goal in mind. Kristol has huddled with some of the aspiring Trump challengers, mostly recently breakfasting with Joe Walsh in Washington, D.C. He drafted McMullin in 2016, and now looks for another champion ahead of 2020. Part of it is ideological, an effort to defend principles when the post-Trump era eventually dawns. “For me it is really important to hold the flag aloft,” Kristol says. “You don’t know how many people you are going to speak to, but a presidential challenge has the ability to reach a lot of people. I mean it’s more than writing an op-ed or tweeting.” Part of it is corrective, as McMullin says: redemption according to old school Republican canon. Voters could always oppose Trump in the primary, Kristol notes, and then vote for him in the general: “If they want to send a signal, even to Trump, that he should moderate his ways a little, well, the best way to do it is the primary vote. He can come back and win them back for the general especially if he shows that he’s listening a little bit to what they are saying.” In short, winning isn’t the only goal. Jill Stein seems to be of this opinion. The perennial candidate for the Green Party tells RCP that a third-party challenge doesn’t just protest the duopoly of the current political system, it also breaks through the partisan infrastructure to introduce new ideas into the political bloodstream. “Do third party challenges change things? They certainly do. It is not only our Green New Deal that has been adopted,” she says before complaining about how the Democratic National Committee only pays lip service to the idea. Instead, she continues, “it is more the candidates that are claiming the progressive mantle and promoting it.” But the GOP challengers waiting in the wings may be ill-suited to this task, even if their own definitions of success are not outright victory. None has the following that Reagan enjoyed ahead of 1976; he was widely considered a national conservative thought leader at the time. None has the opportunity that Buchanan exploited either; Trump has weathered his share of bad polling but nothing like what confronted Bush in 1992. Instead, they have Trump himself. Asked what his pitch is apart from assailing the personality of the president, Joe Walsh laughed: “It is a great question and the only reason I’m laughing – I’m not laughing at your question — it’s just kind of weird. I’m doing this because I think he is a clear and present danger. It is a referendum on him.” The Republican National Committee is intent that a referendum never happens and has taken steps to close primaries before challengers can enter. But with unclear goals and history against them, it seems more than unlikely that any of those Republicans aspiring to the presidency can do much to change the 2020 landscape. On top of extraordinary good luck, candidates would have to rival the appeal of Teddy Roosevelt or Pat Buchanan or Ronald Reagan to even make a dent. Shirley, the presidential biographer, is currently unimpressed. All may have good hearts, unlike Buchanan. But none, he says, “could hold Reagan’s jockstrap.” Source: https://www.realclearpolitics.com/

Bill Weld makes his case to voters as alternative to President Trump

Jul. 18

PORTSMOUTH, NH- July 18, 2019: Former Massachusetts Governor and Presidential hopeful Bill Weld speaks before the Portsmouth Rotary Club at the Portsmouth Country Club in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. (Staff photo By Nicolaus Czarnecki/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald) By LISA KASHINSKY | Boston Herald PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — Want a Republican alternative to Donald Trump? Bill Weld is making his pitch. The former two-term governor of Massachusetts is decrying the state of affairs in Washington as he mounts a primary challenge against the president. Campaigning Thursday in the Granite State, Weld said Trump “thinks American citizens are his natural enemies.” “People try to claim he’s a really good counter-puncher in politics. He’s not a counter-puncher. He’s just vindictive by nature, and mostly against little people. He’s like bullies everywhere,” Weld said. “If nobody stands up to him, which is what we see with the Republican Party in Washington, D.C., he’s going to keep being a bully. “I would treat everybody with respect,” Weld added. “That doesn’t cost anything.” Weld spoke to about three dozen people at a Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce event Thursday morning and a group double in size at a Portsmouth Rotary Club event that afternoon. While some voters said they found his message “refreshing,” they weren’t entirely sold on his ability to successfully challenge Trump. “He had some good things to say,” said Bill Simpson, an independent from Greenland, N.H. “I don’t think he has a chance in hell at the nomination.” Weld also lacks money, with just under $700,000 in total contributions. Trump and the Republican National Committee raised $105 million in the second quarter. GOP strategist Ryan Williams said, “Bill Weld has no shot at winning.” “He obviously feels very strongly about President Trump and the direction he’s taking the party, and it’s a direction that’s at odds with Bill Weld’s idea of the party,” Williams said. “But winning or even making a dent in President Trump’s support — his campaign is completely insignificant in that regard.” Weld knocked the president’s attack on “the squad” of minority freshman congresswomen and chants of “Send her back” during Trump’s North Carolina campaign rally Wednesday night. “Last time it was, ‘Lock her up.’ Now it’s, ‘Send her back,’” Weld said. “It’s not worthy of the White House, really.” As Weld — the vice presidential nominee from the Libertarian Party in 2016 — looks to win New Hampshire’s Republican primary, he has a message for Democrats, too. “If you want to vote against Mr. Trump twice, come vote in the Republican primary for me, because that’s directly against Mr. Trump,” Weld said. “Then take a long hot shower with soap and go back to being a Democrat.” Portsmouth Democrat Susan Gold liked Weld’s idea for pulling a Republican primary ballot — but didn’t think she’d do it. Still, she enjoyed Weld’s “encouraging” message, saying “it sounds like a completely different party.”  

Bill Weld meets with New Hampshire voters Thursday

Jul. 18

DERRY, N.H. — Former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential candidate Bill Weld made stops in New Hampshire on Thursday. Weld spoke to a crowd in Derry about health care, the economy and climate change. The only Republican challenger to President Donald Trump so far, Weld said he shares the same concerns as voters. “I think the voters in Derry showed they are very serious about the problems of climate change, the deficit, all the things I'm worried about, work education and getting the job done in Washington,” he said. “I was impressed with the crowd here.” Weld also visited Portsmouth on Thursday.  

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