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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Tim Baker

Who are Trump's Republican challengers and will he face primaries in the 2020 presidential race?

The US Presidential elections do not take place until November , but the campaign is already very much under way.

Democratic candidates such as Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden are all battling it out in the primaries to see who will get their party’s nomination to run.

But Donald Trump is also facing challenges from fellow Republicans, despite being all but certain to be the party's nominee.

Two long-shot challengers are attempting to do what Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats failed to achieve during the impeachment trial and unseat Mr Trump. Although it is unlikely they will succeed, the primaries could give a forecast of how the party membership feels about the US President.

Who is running against Donald Trump?

There are two notable candidates running against President Trump for the Republication candidacy.

The first is former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld and the second is former congressman and talk radio host Joe Walsh.

Mr Weld, 73, was Governor of the New England state from 1991 to 1997 and has previously run for the vice presidency for the small Libertarian Party.

He has said that a second term of Mr Trump in the White House would be a “political tragedy”.

Mr Walsh, 58, was a congressman for the Republicans in Illinois from 2010 to 2012, when he was defeated by the Democrats.

He said his reason for trying to unseat the President is that Mr Trump is “unfit” for office.

Bill Weld is one of two men trying to unseat Donald Trump from within the Republican Party (AP)

How much support do they have?

The short answer is very little.

In the Iowa caucuses, President Trump secured 97 per cent of the votes - tallying to 31,464 - and 39 of 40 delegates.

Mr Walsh and Mr Weld got 1.4 per cent and 1.2 per cent of the respectively.​

Around the rest of the states, President Trump is running unopposed in six states, while primaries and caucuses have been cancelled completely in another seven regions.

Cancelling is a decision made by the local party, and is not unusual for incumbents from both parties.

A big part of a campaign is the financing, and Donald Trump is crushing his in-party rivals.

He has raised $211m (£163m), while Mr Weld has managed to pull together $1.7m (£1.3m) and Mr Walsh $480,000 (£370,000).

Joe Walsh is yet to raise even $1 million (AP)

What does Donald Trump think of his rivals?

Mr Trump has remained tight lipped on his opponents, but he is not a fan of perceived disloyalty from within his party.

Mitt Romney, who voted to convict the leader of his own party in the impeachment trial, faces being kicked out of the organisation because of his choice.

When Mr Weld announced he was running for the Republican leadership in April 2019, the National Committee of the party said: “Any effort to challenge the president’s nomination is bound to go absolutely nowhere.”

And responding to Mr Walsh’s declaration at the end of the same year, Republican Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said: “President Trump enjoys unprecedented support among Republicans. He has already delivered a long list of incredible accomplishments for conservatives and the country.

“Republicans are firmly behind the president and any effort to challenge him in a primary is bound to go absolutely nowhere.”

When will the Republican nominee be confirmed?

Primaries and caucuses will take place across the country from February until June.

The Republican National Convention, where the party will name its nominees for president, happens in August.

Until then, President Trump is not technically the official Republican candidate.

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