One of President Donald Trump’s most vocal opponents is creating a political war machine to take on the commander in chief when it comes time for him to run for re-election in 2020.
Bill Kristol, who served in the administrations of Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, says his nonprofit organization Defending Democracy Together is seeking a GOP candidate to run against Trump in 2020.
“We are thinking of and doing preliminary work to prepare for a primary run against Trump,” Kristol said in an interview on Thursday. “People aren’t going to say they will run against Trump unless they have the infrastructure but I’ve been trying to persuade people that it may not be that difficult,” he added.
Kristol, a director of Defending Democracy Together, explained that he’s organized a coalition of activists who are polling voters and meeting with focus groups in swing states such as New Hampshire.
He’s also been engaging with three potential Republican primary candidates who have been outspoken critics of the president: Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, outgoing Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Other possible nominees on Kristol’s radar are Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.
Sasse, Flake and Kasich have shown interest, according to Kristol, but they’ve also echoed what they’ve said publicly which is that they are focused on serving their constituency and helping Republicans maintain their majorities in Congress throughout the congressional midterm elections.
Kristol is also readying a super PAC for 2020 GOP candidates which would allow his team to raise unlimited amounts of cash and push out campaign advertisements backing a particular nominee.
A spokesman for Sasse did not deny the two have spoken about a prospective 2020 run.
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