Original article published on Boston Herald by Lisa Kashinsky (BostonHerald.com) available here
Former Massachusetts Gov. William F. Weld put on confident show about his chances against President Trump while speaking at Tufts University Wednesday — blasting Republican efforts to manipulate the GOP primary while enjoying increasing support in New Hampshire in a new Franklin Pierce University-Boston Herald poll.
“My strategy is to win the New Hampshire primary, which in any other year would be a fatal blow for a sitting president, and I think would be in this case as well,” Weld said.
Weld is making gains in the Granite State, according to the Franklin Pierce-Herald poll released this week. Out of 402 likely Republican primary voters surveyed, 14% said they would support Weld, an 11-point rise from last month’s poll. The margin of error was +/- 4.8%.
But he still faces a steep uphill climb. Trump looms tall with 71% support, according to the latest poll, though he was down 17 percentage points from the September survey.
Weld released six years of his tax returns Wednesday as well, and called on Trump “to stop making excuses and do the same.”
Weld and his wife had a combined adjusted gross income of nearly $1.7 million in 2018. Prior years ranged from $3.3 million in 2017 to just under $800,000 in 2014.
Speaking at a Tufts presidential town hall, Weld outlined his strategy for cutting Trump’s support by winning primaries in New England and several Super Tuesday states, and enlarging the electorate by bringing more women and millennials to the polls. In New Hampshire, he’s enlisted Peter Spaulding, who aided John McCain’s first-in-the-nation primary victories in 2000 and 2008.
Weld slammed Trump’s allies for working to cancel Republican primaries across the country — and derided their failed effort to do so in New Hampshire as making “a lot of enemies” for nothing.
“To show you how paranoid the Republicans in D.C. are about facing any challenge or having to have any adult conversation, they tried to cancel the New Hampshire first-in-the-nation primary earlier this year and everyone said ‘drop dead and the horse you rode in on’ because people in New Hampshire aren’t stupid,” Weld said.
Weld is also unfazed by the Massachusetts Republicans’ rule change that will award all of the party’s delegates to the 2020 candidate who gets more than 50% of the vote — a departure from the proportional allocation used in 2016.
“I was thrilled. They thought they were trying to scare me, ‘Oh, I won’t get my 20% of delegates in Massachusetts.’ But on the contrary, they’re throwing me into my favorite briar patch,” Weld said.