4 Possible Republican Trump Challengers for 2020

Who Might Enter the GOP Primaries?


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President Donald Trump's surprise win in 2016 was good news for many in the Republican Party. But the outsider non-politician's win did not make all conservative members of the GOP happy. Some preferred a standard-bearer for the party who fit a more traditional mold than the outspoken New York real estate developer and reality TV star. Others saw him as someone who doesn't actually hold the conservative values he espoused.

Three Republicans already have indicated their interest in challenging Trump in the 2020 primary season, and pundits speculate that at least one more might join the race.

Bill Weld

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld's last run for office was as vice president on the Libertarian Party ticket, but the former Massachusetts governor re-joined the Republican Party to officially challenge President Trump in April 2019. Despite Trump's 90 percent approval rating among GOP voters, Weld insisted in a CNN interview that he can beat the sitting president. His strategy includes getting on the ballot in states that allow for crossover voting, meaning that people who traditionally vote for Democrats are allowed to vote in the Republican primary.

Larry Hogan

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is a moderate Republican who has said he would consider running against Trump in 2020 only if he thought he had a reasonable chance of winning. But polling even in his home state has shown that while Marylanders love him as their governor, Republicans favor Trump in a 2020 primary contest 68 percent to 24 percent. Hogan announced in June 1, 2019 he would not run, saying he would instead lead an advocacy group called "An America United."

John Kasich

Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich already challenged Trump once, in the 2016 primaries, and came up short. The former Ohio governor was tenacious nonetheless and stayed in the fight until the bitter end. Kasich has continued his criticisms of the president as a cable news commentator. He was rumored to be considering a 2020 campaign, but on May 31, 2019, he announced that he will not run, telling CNN, "There is no path right now for me. I don't see a way to get there."

Justin Amash

Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan is a vocal Trump critic in the U.S. House of Representatives and began being talked about as a challenger to the president after he was the lone Republican in the House to join Democrats in calling for Trump's impeachment in May 2019. But the speculation was not over whether Amash would challenge Trump in the GOP primary. Instead, observers wondered whether the libertarian-minded Amash might indeed jump to the Libertarian party where he might steal enough electoral votes to be a spoiler in the general election.


Other more conservative Republicans are not interested in challenging a sitting president, either because they support his policies or because they don't want to hurt their own political futures. Those likely waiting for the 2024 election include names like Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, or even former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.