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Trump challenger Bill Weld rules out 2020 independent bid

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld (R) said he will not run as an independent next year if he loses his long-shot primary challenge against President Trump.

“No, I would not run as an independent,” Weld said in an interview Thursday at The Hill’s offices in Washington. “Depending on who the Democratic nominee was, I could either support the Democrat or conceivably the libertarian.”

Weld wouldn’t say which candidate in the vast Democratic field he would consider backing, but added that he’s known former Vice President Joe Biden for years.

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He also said Biden has the best chance of winning over independent and anti-Trump Republican voters. But that doesn’t mean Biden is the only Democrat he would consider backing.

“The only thing I’ve said is an absolute: In no circumstances would I ever support Donald Trump for any office ever. I think he’s kind of way out there,” Weld said.

The 74-year-old candidate said he’s prepared to end his campaign if he has a “poor performance” in New Hampshire or on Super Tuesday the following month.

He did not specify what would constitute a lackluster showing other than saying, “If I’m at 1 percent in New Hampshire, sure [I’ll drop out]. But I’m not going to be at 1 percent.”

Weld said he plans to have TV ads up in New Hampshire at the end of the month, and that he would need a strong showing in the state’s Feb. 11 primary to keep funding his campaign in Super Tuesday states, including the expensive California market, through March 3.

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Weld predicted he will “seriously out perform” in New Hampshire, drawing perhaps as much as 30 percent of the GOP vote.

A showing at that level, he argued, could give Trump “a real shove” toward a decision to end his reelection campaign.

Weld is joined by former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) in his bid to win the GOP nomination. Former Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) dropped out of the Republican primary race in November.

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