(VOA News) – Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld said Friday that he was launching a presidential exploratory committee, making him the first Republican to take steps to challenge U.S. President Donald Trump for the party’s nomination in 2020.
Trump’s popularity among Republicans remains high in his third year in office. While he is not expected to face significant hurdles in his bid for a second nomination, it is rare for an incumbent president to face a notable primary challenge, with the last being George H.W. Bush.
Weld, 73, is not well-known nationally but is well-respected among officials in the GOP establishment.
He was first elected governor of Massachusetts in 1990, defeating a conservative Democratic candidate. Weld became one of the state’s more popular governors, being elected twice by comfortable margins.
While in office, he followed traditional Republican fiscal policies of trying to keep taxes and government spending low, but embraced liberal positions on abortion and gay rights.