Weld: ‘I’ll tell you who’s going to win’
By Evan Lips | August 8, 2016, 17:49 EDT
BOSTON — Accompanying a box stuffed with more than 3,000 signatures from registered Massachusetts voters, former Gov. William Weld stopped by Secretary of State William Galvin’s office Monday, a necessary step in his quest to make sure he and Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson get their names on November’s ballot.
A throng of media awaited Weld in the lobby at One Ashburton Place, and the libertarian vice presidential candidate reiterated that he and Johnson are not interested in merely disrupting a contest that has thus far been dominated by Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Weld thinks he and Johnson can win.
“You show me a three-party race with one at 25 (percent) who two-and-a-half months earlier was at five, and two at 35 who two-and-a-half months earlier were at 45, and I’ll tell you who is going to win that race,” Weld said at one point during a brief question-and-answer session with reporters.
The former two-term governor referenced polling percentages while laying out a general view of the strategy he and Johnson, who also served two terms as governor of New Mexico, intends to pursue. The key, according to Weld, is to guarantee Johnson a seat at the Sept. 26 presidential debate.
“The scenario now is not to just try and pick up a couple of states, it’s to qualify for the debates scheduled and get into the debate at the end of August or the first week in September,” Weld said. “That step alone would probably carry us past 15 percent and closer to 20 percent — then we’ll work on getting another five percent which I think is a modest goal for the month of September.
“That would mean entering the month of October 25 percent in the polls.”
It is up to the private Commission on Presidential Debates as to whether Johnson will be allowed to participate. The commission has said it will make a final decision after Labor Day. According to the commission’s selection criteria, “candidates must appear on a sufficient number of state ballots to have a mathematical chance of winning a majority vote in the Electoral College, and have a level of support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate as determined by five selected national public opinion polling organizations.”
According to RealClear Politics, Johnson is currently averaging 8.2 percent, with Lexington native and Green Party candidate Jill Stein averaging 3.8 percent. Last week a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by Johnson and Stein alleging that the commission was violating antitrust laws.
Weld said he and Johnson have recently heard more feedback from members of Congress who say they are growing disinterested in the two major party candidates.
“I see the race a little differently than I might have back at the convention in Orlando,” Weld said, referring to Libertarian National Convention held in late May. “The ice is cracking a little bit and we’ve seen it start to crack in Congress just this week.
“I’ve spoken to a few Republican members of Congress who are interested in reassessing their positions this fall and others as well.”
Trump’s rise to presidential candidate has resulted in several GOP mainstays leaving the party, including columnist George Will and prominent pundit Mary Matalin.
Weld also offered a comical response after a reporter asked him about comments made during the Democratic National Convention by Galvin, who said votes for third-party candidates are “a waste.”
“Libertarians never tell other people what to do,” said Weld. “So, if anyone in the commonwealth wants to waste their vote by casting it for Trump or Clinton, it’s OK with us.”
Weld did say he respects Galvin’s opinion but stressed that he sees a pathway to victory.
“We have a path to run right up the middle and win the whole thing here and in fact that’s what I think is going to happen,” said Weld.
Weld also said he had no problem appearing on a ticket underneath Johnson.
“He called me up and asked me if I’d like to join him and I went for it like a barracuda,” Weld noted.
“The thing about the Johnson-Weld ticket is that nobody can say we haven’t been there and done that.
“You might not like everything we did but both of us were Republican governors who were elected in blue states and came in a really did move the needle back on fiscal positions.”
In Massachusetts, presidential candidates must submit at least 10,000 certified signatures from registered voters in order to ensure a place on the November ballot. Monday’s 3,000-signature delivery raises the Johnson-Weld total to 9,200.
The Libertarian Association of Massachusetts claims it has collected more than 15,000 signatures total.
Dan Fishman, LAMA political facilitator and the northeast regional director for the Johnson-Weld campaign, said collecting signatures has been “remarkably easy.”
“The reason why is that we have an unbelievable candidate,” Fishman said. “When we went out and said the name ‘Bill Weld’ overwhelmingly people were like ‘absolutely, I want to sign.’”
Full video of Weld press conference: