Joe Walsh set to challenge Trump in Republican primary race: Reports

Joe Walsh during his time as a congressman, 2012. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) told Politico Wednesday that he's confident he can secure the resources to challenge President Trump for the Republican Party's nomination. His comments came hours after the New York Times and Washington Post reported that Walsh was expected to announce his candidacy.

Why it matters: The Tea Party conservative would join former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld in challenging Trump for the Republican Party nomination. Politico reported that sources close to Walsh told the news outlet he was privately confirming he would announce his presidential bid this weekend. The NYT also reports that Walsh is set to enter the race as early as this weekend.

The big picture: Trump could still face other conservative challengers, according to the WashPost, which reports that former South Carolina congressman and Gov. Mark Sanford, former Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and former Ohio Gov. John Kasich are considering entering the presidential race.

  • Walsh appears to have laid the groundwork for a run at the presidency in a NY Times Op-Ed last week where he stated the case for a contender from the right to challenge Trump. In the op-ed, Walsh said he gave Trump "a fair hearing" after voting for him in 2016, but he realized soon after he became president that he couldn’t support him.
"The fact is, Mr. Trump is a racial arsonist who encourages bigotry and xenophobia to rouse his base and advance his electoral prospects. In this, he inspires imitators."
— Joe Walsh NYT op-ed excerpt

Between the lines: The NYT notes that Trump's approval rating with Republican voters is consistently in the high 80s and that the president's political aides have been aggressively moving to tighten their grip on state parties to ward off primary challenges. But the news outlet reports that those encouraging Walsh hope he can appeal to reluctant Trump voters who are open to an alternative.

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Why it matters: It's a "significant breakthrough," which will enable accurate investigation and diagnosis of the virus globally, per a statement by the Doherty Institute released Tuesday morning (ET), from where the virus was grown. It's hoped it will help efforts to treat the virus.

What's happening with the coronavirus

132 people have died and 6,003 others are confirmed to have contracted a coronavirus strain that originated in Wuhan, China, health officials confirmed, as several nations began evacuating citizens from the country.

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Wednesday the country's risk citizens evacuated from Wuhan would be held in quarantine on Christmas Island, an Australian territory near Indonesia notorious for its now-closed refugee detention center.

This story and map will be frequently updated with breaking news. See below for our latest coverage.

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Photo: Janek Skarzynski/AFP via Getty Images

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Why it matters: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he'd bring plans to annex the Jordan Valley and all settlements in the West Bank before the Cabinet on Sunday. He would not have taken such a dramatic step without U.S. backing.

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Mandy Ginsberg on Tuesday announced that she is stepping down as longtime CEO of Match Group, the owner of online dating sites including Match and Tinder.

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