“Never Trump” ringleader Bill Kristol is behind a six-figure campaign to motivate independent voters to turn out in Democratic primaries for moderate candidates, hoping to ensure a formidable challenger against President Trump in November.
Mr. Kristol, a ‘conservative’ commentator who founded the now-folded Weekly Standard magazine, lent his voice to the outreach to unaffiliated voters in New Hampshire in favor of a “responsible” Democratic nominee.
“I’m happy to have joined with some others to help remind New Hampshire independents, who might be accustomed to voting in the Republican primary, that this year, they may be able to make more of a difference by voting for a responsible and electable candidate in the Democratic primary,” Mr. Kristol told NHJournal.
The calls, according to the news website, do not support one candidate by name but seek to blunt Granite State support for self-proclaimed socialist Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont.
Polls say Mr. Sanders is the front-runner in New Hampshire’s Democratic presidential primary Tuesday. But it is widely believed the unapologetically leftist Mr. Sanders would have a tougher time beating Mr. Trump in a general election than a more moderate candidate such as former Vice President Joseph R. Biden.
The Real Clear Politics average of recent polls shows Mr. Sanders and Mr. Biden topping Mr. Trump in a head-to-head vote by 4.3% and 5.6%, respectively.
Mr. Kristol and his allies do not appear to be limiting their efforts to New Hampshire. He retweeted a post by Rep. Elaine Luria, VirginiaDemocrat, alerting Democratic primary voters to registration deadlines in her state.
“Fellow Virginians: If you’ve voted R in the past but want to be able to consider a moderate and responsible Democratic alternative to President Trump this fall, make sure you’re registered. You can vote in either primary, and the choice among the Democrats will be consequential,” Mr. Kristol tweeted.
Mr. Trump’s campaign insists it isn’t concerned about the Never Trump effort.
New Hampshire Rep. Fred Doucette, who is a co-chair of Mr. Trump’s campaign there, called the effort “laughable desperation.”
“They are going to pull out all the stops at the 11th hour in a failed effort to stop Trump and bolster any candidate at this point. But the voters of New Hampshire can sniff out BS from a mile away,” Mr. Doucette told the NHJournal.
Republican candidates trying to block Mr. Trump have failed to gain support in the GOP primary.
Former Massachusetts Republican Gov. Bill Weld is trying to unseat Mr. Trump as the GOP nominee, and according to NHJournal, is campaigning in New Hampshire. A recent FiveThirtyEight poll shows Mr. Weld with 7% in New Hampshire’s Republican primary and Mr. Trump with 90%.
Former Illinois Republican Rep. Joe Walsh had also been running to upset Mr. Trump’s Republican nomination, but he suspended his campaign earlier this month after a poor showing in Iowa.
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