Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, the Libertarian Party’s 2016 vice presidential nominee, ended his Republican Party primary challenge of President Donald Trump today. Last night, on Super Tuesday 3.0, Trump surpassed the number of delegates required to secure the Republican presidential nomination. Throughout the campaign, Weld received a total of one pledged delegate, at the February 3 Iowa Caucus.
“I am immensely grateful to all the patriotic women and men who have stood with me during the past eleven months in our effort to bring better government to Washington, D.C.,” says Weld in a statement.
Billed by 2016 presidential nominee Gary Johnson as the “original Libertarian,” Weld was once considered a potential candidate for the Libertarian Party’s 2020 presidential nomination. However, speculation died down after he announced his run as a Republican.
“While I am suspending my candidacy,” proclaims Weld, “I want to be clear that I am not suspending my commitment to our nation and to the democratic institutions that set us apart.”
At the 2016 Libertarian Convention, Weld famously claimed he would stick with the Libertarian Party for life, which may have secured him the vice presidential nomination on the second ballot despite qualms about some of his anti-libertarian views. Similarly, Weld claimed during the 2006 gubernatorial race in New York that he would run as the Libertarian Party nominee but changed his mind after failing to secure the Republican nomination.
During the 2016 campaign, to the chagrin of some Libertarians and against statements the campaign itself released, Weld praised his opponent Hillary Clinton as a “reliable person and an honest person” despite the investigations into her alleged misdeeds. Reports surfaced that Weld was considering dropping out of the race to endorse Clinton. Furthermore, Weld took positions in media appearances that went against the Libertarian Party’s position on gun rights, due process, and foreign policy.
If Weld ultimately decides to seek the 2020 Libertarian nomination and wins, his ability to appear on ballots will be severely hampered by sore-loser laws due to his appearance on Republican primary ballots.