Renegade Republicans intent on upending President Trump in 2020 are keeping their powder dry, waiting to see if legal and political controversies drive him from office first.
Political operatives and potential candidates that inhabit the loose-knit community of Republicans who oppose Trump’s re-election are eyeing June as the approximate moment for deciding on a primary challenge or independent bid. It’s a strategic delay. Some Republicans think the weight of multiple investigations could motivate the president to exit the White House after one term — especially if special counsel Robert Mueller issues a politically damaging report.
“The scenario I think we could be heading toward is Trump hitting a Mueller-induced problem where there would suddenly be several people looking at running because of the odds increasing that he won’t run again,” said Rob Stutzman, a veteran GOP consultant in Sacramento, Calif., who has had discussions with like-minded Republicans about how Trump 2020 might be derailed.
The president begins the election cycle in a position to cruise to renomination, bolstered by the overwhelming support of grassroots Republicans. But a small-but-persistent group of Republicans unhappy with his leadership remains. Some are actively attempting to recruit a credible primary challenger; others are examining the viability of an independent bid.
The Republicans most often listed as possible Trump challengers are outgoing Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who ran in 2016; Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who is up for re-election next year; Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, the GOP presidential nominee in 2012 who was elected to his current post just last year; Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan; and former Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Flake of Arizona, who sources say are unlikely to run. – READ MORE