Weld Says He Can Beat Trump With Help From Independent Voters

(Bloomberg) -- Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld said his bid to win the Republican presidential nomination over President Donald Trump will get a boost from independent voters who can cast GOP primary ballots in 20 states.

“That is an opening,” he said of the independent voters in a Bloomberg Television interview. “Beyond that, you have to make a case for yourself, and I am in this to win.”

Asked if he’s received encouragement from other Republicans, Weld said, “I am not asking people to endorse or get behind me until I have shown I have some traction.” He said he’s getting “a lot” of support by email and that when people speak in favor of his candidacy, they use words like “historic.”

Weld, 73, who served as Massachusetts governor from 1991 to 1997, declared Feb. 15 at a New Hampshire breakfast that he’s formed an exploratory committee to consider running as a Republican against Trump. He is the first would-be GOP Trump challenger to take such a step.

Weld had several political disappointments since being governor. He lost the 1996 Senate race in Massachusetts to John Kerry, the Senate failed to confirm his nomination to be U.S. ambassador to Mexico in 1997 and he unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for governor of New York in the 2006 election.

He said one label he avoids for himself is "moderate."

“I’m very conservative fiscally” and “quite welcoming, tolerant and open socially,” Weld said. “I want the government out of your pocketbook and out of your bedroom. That remains my view.”

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