With so much of the attention this presidential primary season focused on the Democratic Party side, the contest being held by the Republican Party has received scant notice. That’s certainly no surprise, as incumbent presidents are typically expected to coast in their own party’s nominating contests, and President Trump appears likely to win here in New Hampshire without having to break a campaigning sweat before next Tuesday’s vote.
Yet there are other names on the Republican ballot — 16, in fact. Most are either completely unknown or are names that might ring a bell because they’ve appeared on past ballots without generating serious interest, or both. But there are two, former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh (not the Eagles guitarist) and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who have been making appearances in the state to present to voters in the Republican primary a different vision for the party than the president’s.
Weld in particular has been active in this region and is a familiar name, having served next door as the Bay State’s chief executive during the 1990s and earned a reputation for working effectively with the Democratic majorities that controlled that state’s legislature. Those of a more libertarian bent will also remember him as the vice-presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party in the 2016 election.
He advocates for policies that align with traditionally central Republican Party positions — zero-based budgeting to bring the country’s ballooning deficit under control; simplifying the tax code; promoting school choice; strengthening international alliances to promote the country’s interests abroad; fostering free trade to benefit American business — and is not shy about drawing distinction between his historically Republican positions, as well as his style and demeanor, and those of the president.
For those interested in knowing more about him, he’ll be back in the area for a town hall-style meeting at the Keene Public Library Saturday at 2:45 p.m. Also, a video of our editorial board discussion with him, as well as our meetings with many other candidates in this year’s primary, can be viewed at www.sentinelsource.com/politics/election_2020/.
President Trump clearly enjoys and inspires a fervent and devoted base of supporters, and there’s little doubt they will head to the polls to vote for him on Tuesday. But there are Republicans and undeclared voters not interested in the Democratic field whose vision for a conservative, Republican approach to governing from the White House differs sharply from that of the incumbent’s. Tuesday is their chance to register that view from the privacy of the voting booth.