Steve Scheffler, who represents Iowa on the Republican National Committee, has a warning for anyone in the party hoping to deny President Trump the 2020 GOP nomination.
“We want to protect the integrity of the caucuses and give people the ability to make their case,” he said, referring to the balloting that starts the election season next February. But, Scheffler continued by saying there will be zero tolerance for any Republican who comes to Iowa and “starts bashing the president and his policies.”
“That,” he said, “will be dealt with.”
As Trump begins to focus on his reelection bid, the president enjoys a strong hold on the GOP and its machinery, as well as overwhelming support among Republican voters. He is an unbelievable 90% approval rating.
Even so, Maryland’s Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, see no harm in trying.
“What are they so afraid of?” he said during a recent Iowa trip although he denied any personal White House ambitions. “It’s like we have to swear allegiance to the ‘Dear Leader.’
“Why don’t you let us go out there,” he continued, “let people go out there, and challenge and get their brains beat in [if] you’re so all powerful?”
Hogan plans a trip later this month to New Hampshire, which has the first primary. Bill Weld, a former Massachusetts governor, has formed an exploratory committee and made the rounds of radio and TV talking about his possible candidacy. Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich is considering a repeat run, though he’s mindful of the long odds.
“Plenty of people come and say, ‘Please run,’ so we could put some torpedoes underneath the water line,” said John Weaver, a Kasich advisor. “But those people have never been through a presidential campaign and don’t know how hard it is.”
However unlikely it may seem, Trump has good cause to worry about a primary brawl.
Since 1968, four presidents have faced serious opponents who sought to wrestle away their party’s nomination: Democrats Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy Carter and Republicans Gerald R. Ford and George H.W. Bush. Each was significantly wounded by the inside battle and all failed to win another term.