Even though it’s rare for incumbent presidents to face a serious primary challenge ahead of a reelection bid, two more Republicans are reportedly considering throwing their hats in the ring to take on Donald Trump in 2020.
According to The Hill, “Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, fresh off launching his own GOP primary challenge against President Trump this week, says he has encouraged other Republicans to launch similar bids to take on Trump in 2020.”
Among those that Weld has urged to jump in the race are former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and current Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan – hardly two leaders that should be dismissed.
“I think it’s fair to say that both of them are looking at the situation and if the politics change somewhat, I think either or both of them might be interested,” Weld said, according to The Hill. “And I think I indicated to each of them that that would be no skin off my teeth.”
Trump could even face a primary debate
In addition to having as many as three or more serious primary challengers, Trump may have to participate in a primary debate – at least if former Gov. Weld has his way.
[I]t might be harder for the president to duck debates if there were two or three other candidates in the race, so I’ve been encouraging the both of those people,” he said of Kasich and Hogan. “We all want the same thing, which is an airing of the issues.”
A televised debate with never-Trump Republicans who have a grasp of the issues is the last thing the president wants before heading into what will already be a challenging general election campaign against the Democrats.
Primary challenges are bad for incumbent presidents
While Trump is all but guaranteed to be the Republican nominee in 2020, regardless of how many GOP candidates jump in the race, such challenges often end badly for incumbent presidents.
[M]ost of the time, presidents who fend off a primary challenge wind up losing the general election,” CBS News noted in 2017.
Ultimately, while Trump could very well be reelected in 2020, it’s not a good sign for his campaign that there is an appetite within the Republican Party to primary him.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.