Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld has emerged atop the shortlist of potential running mates for likely Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson.
Weld served as a libertarian-leaning Republican governor of Massachusetts from 1991 to 1997. Before that, President Ronald Reagan appointed Weld United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts. He was later selected to head the Department of Justice Criminal Division.
A source close to the Johnson campaign who wished to remain anonymous confirmed that Weld is considered the “likely choice at this point” for the VP slot, but admitted that “vetting is ongoing.”
According to Ballot Access News:
Weld has a history with the Libertarian Party. In 2006 he was a candidate for Governor of New York. He accepted the Libertarian Party nomination for that office, but he was also seeking the Republican nomination. When he failed to get the Republican nomination for Governor, he then withdrew entirely from the race, and the Libertarian Party had to find a new nominee.
Harry McGuire Jr., a Gary Johnson supporter, reacted to the news about Weld in a Facebook group called “Libertarians against Donald Trump“:
Today it was reported in the Boston Herald, and confirmed by the campaign, that Gov. Johnson is seriously considering selecting former Massachusetts Governor William F. Weld to be his choice for Vice President. For those who don’t know, here’s a little bit about the Governor:
After completing his education at Harvard at Oxford, Weld started his career as a counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment of Richard Nixon, working alongside, among others, Bruce Fein and a young Hillary Rodham.
He was appointed United State Attorney for Massachusetts by Ronald Reagan, where he brought down the corrupt political machine surrounding Boston’s four-term mayor. He was then promoted to head of the Criminal Division for the Department of Justice, where he resigned in protest over the corruption of the Attorney General, whistle-blowing in testimony to Congress and causing the A.G. to resign.
In 1990, he was elected Governor of Massachusetts as the first Republican in decades. Four years later, he was re-elected with 71% of the vote in the largest landslide in Massachusetts history.
During his governorship, Weld ended the state’s borrowing, controlled Medicaid spending, reduced property taxes, and balanced seven budgets in a row (in a state where a balanced budget is constitutionally mandated but haphazardly enforced) while passing 19 tax cuts and never raising taxes. The business community reacted strongly to Weld’s leadership. In a 1994 survey of chief executives conducted by the Massachusetts High Technology Council, 83% of those polled rated the state’s business climate as good or excellent—up from only 33% at the beginning of his term. He received an “A” grade for fiscal policy from the libertarian Cato Institute.
In 1992, he was booed during his speech at the Republican National Convention for making the statement that “I want the government out of your pocketbook and your bedroom.”
In 1997 near the end of his second term, he was appointed by Bill Clinton to be Ambassador to Mexico, only to have the nomination blocked by notoriously conservative Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC), who objected that Weld was pro-choice and supported gay rights and medical marijuana.
In 2006, Weld was nominated by the Libertarian Party of New York to be Governor of that state, but was defeated in a simultaneous bid to become the Republican nominee.
What do you think: does Johnson/Weld 2016 sound like an election-winning ticket? Two popular and successful two-term Governors, both alienated from the GOP because it had no room for combining social tolerance and classical liberalism with free markets and smaller government…