No candidates have stepped up yet, but the anti-Trump activists involved in trying to recruit a third party person to run against Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the general election say the effort is still on-going.
“There are multiple possibilities remaining,” one person involved in the effort told The Daily Caller on Friday.
“All the talk about donors melting away is nonsense,” the person added. “We have absolute expressions of interest from donors if the candidate is right.”
A number of potential candidates have said they aren’t interested. But the source, declining to list names, said: “Some of these reported ‘nos’ were incorrect.”
All sorts of people, more serious than others, have been floated as possibilities: Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, former Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Texas Sen. [crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore], Arkansas Sen. [crscore]Tom Cotton[/crscore] and retired United States Marine Corps General James Mattis.
James Wegmann, a spokesman for Sasse, told TheDC this week the senator is not considering a run. “No. Senator Sasse has been clear when asked this before: he has three little kids and the only callings he wants — raising them and serving Nebraskans,” Wegmann said.
TheDC attempted to, but could not, reach a spokesman for Coburn, who retired from the Senate in 2014, this week.
Bill Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard who has been pushing a third party challenger, has encouraged Romney to consider running.
Over the last week, Perry, who previously said the New York businessman was a “cancer on conservatism,” said he backs Trump.
Returning to the Senate this week, Cruz told reporters outside his office: “I have no interest in a third party run.”
Cotton said this week: “I’ve long said that I will support the Republican nominee because we can’t afford a third Obama-Clinton term.”
And last month, The New York Times reported Mattis had ruled out a run, despite encouragement from some.
The effort to recruit a third party candidate is largely being pushed by the Republican Party’s neoconservative wing — people who disagree with Trump’s non-interventionist foreign policy beliefs.
Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post’s “Right Turn” blog wrote an item Friday titled: “The push for a third candidate is very much alive.”
“The Republican primary effectively ended a little over a week ago,” Rubin wrote. “Sources involved in several coordinated efforts tell Right Turn there is a battle plan for qualification in all 50 states. A candidate can run as an independent, on another party’s ‘line,’ and by write-in. The only ‘deadline’ that has passed — in Texas — is in all likelihood unconstitutional, and in any case, there are workaround plans even for that state. Moreover, the strategy here is to qualify in enough states and pull enough votes away from both Clinton and Trump to send the race to the House.”