Fast Facts About the GOP Candidates Challenging Trump for 2020 Ticket


President Donald Trump is not the only candidate vying for the GOP nomination in 2020. The latest Gallup polling numbers, however, show Trump has an 88 percent job approval rating among Republicans.

Historically, primary challengers to an incumbent president have never won the party’s nomination, but in most of those instances, the incumbent president also did not win the general election.

While it seems like an uphill battle for any other Republican candidates to attempt to win the party’s 2020 nomination, the following candidates have decided to stake their claim in the race, believing the party would be better off without Trump as its candidate.

Mark Sanford

Who is he? 

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Mark Sanford was the governor of South Carolina from 2003 to 2011. He was also a U.S. representative from 1995 to 2001 and again from 2013 to 2019.

While serving as governor in 2009, Sanford disappeared for nearly a week. His spokesperson said he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, but he was actually in Argentina having an extramarital affair.

Sanford “profoundly apologized” afterward and later insisted that even though Trump has since commented on Sanford’s affair, his decision to run against the president is not personal.

Why is he running?

Sanford told Fox News that the Republican Party is facing an identity crisis, and said he wants to help bring the party back to its roots. “I think we have to have a conversation about what it means to be a Republican,” he said.

Even though he knows that running against the incumbent president will be a “David and Goliath” race, Sanford believes its a race worth running, claiming that a tweet “is not leadership.” He announced his campaign launch on Sept. 8.

What are his stances on the issues? 

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Immigration: Sanford said during an interview on Iowa Public Television he wants to return to “common sense” when it comes to immigration. Some of his suggested solutions include a more secure border and increasing the numbers of businesses that use programs like E-Verify to confirm employees are in the country legally.

Climate change: The former congressman was a part of a group of Republicans that proposed the House Republican Climate Resolution in 2017; he still believes action is needed to protect the environment.

Health care: In 2017, Sanford introduced companion legislation in the House to Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s Obamacare Replacement Act, which would have replaced the Affordable Care Act with private health care options. He still supports this plan.

Economy: Sanford wants to reduce government spending, and criticized the current administration for what he says is excessive spending. Sanford says reining in government spending is his “primary focus.”

Joe Walsh

Who is he? 

Former Rep. Joe Walsh was a Tea Party congressman from Illinois from 2011 to 2013. He was also a conservative radio talk show host with the Salem Radio Network; his show was canceled shortly after he announced his campaign launch on Aug. 25.

Although he criticizes Trump for his crass remarks, Walsh is not innocent from doing the same over the years. He claims, however, the current administration’s tone has caused him to reconsider and change his own.

Why is he running?

Walsh supported Trump in 2016, but his view of the 45th president has since changed. He now calls Trump “an unfit con man” on his campaign site.

His campaign slogan, “Be Brave,” alludes to his knowledge of the criticism he will receive by running against Trump. He’s even gone as far to call the Republican Party “a cult.”

What are his stances on the issues? 

Immigration: In an interview on “PBS News Hour,” Walsh accused Trump of making a “a bigger mess” at the southern border since his election. He said he would stop separating children from their families at the border, but would continue to be “tougher” on illegal immigration

Climate change: Walsh also acknowledges a correlation between human actions and climate change. “The Republican Party has to acknowledge it’s a problem,” he said on PBS. “This president won’t.”

In a 2015 tweet, however, Walsh jeered at the idea of climate change, saying, “lol climate change.”

Health care: The former conservative talk show host has made his opinion of the “Medicare for All” proposal that many of the Democratic presidential candidates are rallying behind very clear.

Of course, considering his Tea Party roots, this should come as no surprise. On Jan. 2, Walsh responded to a tweet about health care from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, writing, “Health care is not a right. Your rights do not come from government.”

Economy: Walsh has also been critical of Trump’s fiscal policies and wants to address the country’s increasing debt. He claims Trump is “tweeting this country into a recession.”

William Weld

Who is he?

William Weld was governor of Massachusetts from 1991 to 1997, and was the Libertarian Party’s vice presidential nominee in 2016, when he ran alongside LP presidential nominee Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico. Weld also served in former President Ronald Reagan’s Justice Department for 7 years.

While he is fiscally conservative and critical of Democratic candidates who support socialist policies, Weld supports supports abortion, LGBT rights and the legalization of marijuana.

Why is he running? 

Weld announced his campaign launch on April 15, criticizing President Trump’s job performance. “He’s simply in the wrong place,” he said of Trump in February.

He is critical of the current administration’s fiscal policies and aims to cut government spending. He was widely seen as one of the nation’s most fiscally conservative governors while in office, so if he were to be elected there’s no doubt he’d be looking for areas of excess in the federal government.

What are his stances on the issues? 

Immigration: Weld favors more work visas being issued, thought he says he’ll be tough on the enforcement of the deadlines associated with those visas.

Climate change: Weld wants to re-enter the Paris climate accords, and believes that the environment is worth protecting. “Europe has its cathedrals and monuments; we have our mountains, canyons, valleys, rivers and streams — and we had d— well better take care of them,” he said in February.

Health care: The former governor believes that individuals should have more choice in their health care than the Affordable Care Act is currently providing.

Economy: Weld has proposed a zero-based budget where all expenses are justified in each given year. He has also been critical of the socialist mindset currently seen with several of the Democratic presidential candidates.

Gun control: While he recognizes the importance of the right to bear arms, Weld is in favor of red flag laws to limit individuals with mental illnesses from owning guns.

Abortion: Weld is “the most pro-choice person you’re ever going to meet,” he said in May, according to The Associated Press. “Who wants a lot of big, fat, white guys who live in Washington 700 miles away making the decision about what’s going to happen about a family pregnancy where the family has basis for some views and maybe wants to terminate the pregnancy?”

Education: Weld has proposed abolishing the U.S. Department of Education so that decision-making can be left to local governments. He is in favor of “school choice” as well, including homeschooling and charter schools.

He also aims to make in-state community college free for workers who have lost their jobs due to technological advancements.

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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