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A First Look at Trump's First GOP Challenger

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019   

NASHUA, N.H. - Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld held some of his first campaign stops as a GOP presidential candidate for 2020 in New Hampshire on Tuesday. The first Republican to challenge President Donald Trump, Weld officially announced his intentions on Monday.

Weld last ran as the vice presidential nominee on the Libertarian Party ticket with Gary Johnson in 2016. Speaking at a cafe in Nashua on Tuesday, Weld said he meets an increasing number of independents and Democrats who plan to re-register as Republicans, and claimed that they want to do this in order to vote in the GOP primary.

"They want to cast a vote directly against the president," he said, "and they think picking one of 15 candidates from the Democratic side doesn't feel like such a direct vote against the status quo."

According to the latest Gallup poll, Trump has a nearly 90% approval rating among Republicans. His re-election campaign also raised more than $30 million in the first quarter of this year, more than his top two Democratic rivals combined.

Weld is focusing much of his early attention on New Hampshire, hoping to make a splash that can reverberate in other states. When asked about his accomplishments, Weld emphasized a mix of economic and social policies.

"I've shown in office that I know how to cut spending, and I know how to cut taxes. We need to do both of those things in Washington," he said. "I totally reformed and revolutionized the K-through-12 education system in Massachusetts."

As governor, Weld signed the state's Education Reform Act in 1993, which raised standards and increased financing for public education in the Commonwealth. While local and state dollars for schools doubled in the first decade after its passage, the funding formula hasn't been updated since then. The Massachusetts Legislature now is debating how to revisit this formula and increase investment in public education.

A Weld campaign video is online at vimeo.com.


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