Fergus Cullen, a New Hampshire GOP game, sent 150 invitations to his home party for Bill Weld, the first Republican to announce a major challenge to President Trump.
No Fan of the President, Mr. Cullen He did not bother inviting hardened Trump supporters, and some just could not make it. But more than 60 people showed up and, most of all, only three declined with a version of "Thanks, but I'm off with Trump."
"I thought I would get more," Mr. Cullen said about the death of Trump-hards. "It has been confirmed to me that people are open to an alternative. This does not mean that they will all vote for an alternative, but they are open to hear from someone else. "
New Hampshire is a critical floor for the" Never Trumpers "hoping to defy the contradictions and accept an intraparty challenge a sitting president.
Mr. Weld, a former Massachusetts governor, announced an investigative committee in February and made it official this month, saying he challenges Mr. Trump.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is also watching the race. At a Politics and Eggs event in Manchester, New Hampshire, last week he joined a 1
The Governor of Ohio, John Kasich, who flirted with Mr. Trump after losing him 2016 is waiting in the wings. He said both parties would not tackle issues like climate change and immigration.
"There is a market for anti-Trump," said Tom Rath, a former Attorney General of New Hampshire and an important figure in the state's Republican Party. "But I do not know how big it is. I do not know how active it will be. "
Independent members make up 40% of the electorate in the Granite state and can choose one of the two parties. Those who can not find a champion on the democratic side next year could play a role in the Republican competition.
"New Hampshire seldom likes the expected. It is a state that takes its responsibility very seriously and is really studying the candidates, "said Stuart Stevens, a Republican party adviser who advises Mr Weld. "There is a history of insurgent campaigns doing well there, and I think Bill Weld will do very well in New Hampshire."
Mr. Weld says he runs because America "deserves better" than Mr. Trump. He cited the warlike nature of the president, his attitude toward Russia and other eyebrow-raising moments, such as his comments after the riots in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Hogan is more cautious.
He spoke at St. Anselm College, saying that he was in no hurry to beat New Hampshire's filing deadline in November and that he had no interest in starting a "suicide mission" while doing his job as governor.
Mr. Hogan said he had heard of people who wanted him to run, but he focused on his two-party record during his stop in Manchester instead of making a stump speech.
"He received good internal ratings for the class, but it's still not clear what he's doing," Rath said.
Any challenge to Mr. Trump is a long-range shot, according to national polls 90% of the party.
A University of New Hampshire poll in February found that two-thirds of the likely Republican primary voters in the state would support Mr. Trump and about one-sixth would support Mr. Trump Kasich. Mr. Weld counted only 3%.
The poll was made before the release of the report of the Special Adviser who proposed no conspiracy to suppress the 2016 elections, but suggests that Mr. Trump's attempts to prevent investigations into Russian interference constitute an obstacle to Mr. Hogan said the report pointed to a "disturbing" behavior Mr. Weld called Mr. Trum p a "one-man crime wave".
However, your concerns go deeper than the 448 pages of Mr. Müller. They argue that the party loses its influence over values such as tax and personal responsibility, a strict line with Russia and ensuring "character counts".
"On each of these topics, Donald Trump is on the other side. Said Mr. Stevens. "That's right, if there had never been a Mueller report before, that's true with the Mueller report."
Former Senator Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican who got involved with Mr. Trump before retiring, said a primary state would help Republicans focus on bread and butter like responsible budgeting.
"Philosophically, one could look at it and say that it would be a good thing for our country, if from the point of view of the problems," said Corker of the Time 100 summit in New York. "If you had a real elementary school where you had someone who was really listened to, and in terms of content the things we talked about – and I could go over a list of them – they would actually be debating in a real way. "
It's been a while since a seated president faced a tough challenge in his own party, though it's hardly unique.
Republican Pat Buchanan challenged President George HW Bush in 1992 on a platform that predicted some of the populist issues Trump entered the presidency. Although he won 37% of the votes in New Hampshire, he failed to win state primaries.
Sen. Massachusetts' Edward M. Kennedy won a number of states in 1980 in his Democratic main challenge to President Carter. Georgia's peanut farmer eventually dumped Kennedy before he lost in a landslide against Republican Ronald Reagan, who had called for President Ford in the US Republican race of 1976.
But since the 19th-century, smoke-filled rooms, which preceded the modern primary system, a sitting president has not been denied a nomination.
Said Doug Wead, a conservative commentator and presidential historian. "In my humble opinion, the media are so stifling and shrill and they can not help themselves. But it drives voters to do the opposite. So you're going to promote Weld or others, and that'll bounce back to Trump. "
The Republican National Committee says there is no reason for a dispute.
Party history, and he now has the highest approval in his party from almost every president in modern history," said RNC spokesman Steve Guest. "The RNC and the Republican Party stand firmly behind the president, and any effort to challenge the president's nomination will go nowhere."
Mr. Cullen said Mr. Trump should be worried because everyone seated president, who faced a major challenge in New Hampshire's main competition since the Second World War failed to win parliamentary elections.
Except Ford, Mr. Carter and Bush lost in November, two post-war presidents decided not to post a humiliation in New Hampshire President Truman decided to retire after being defeated in 1952 and President Jo Hannson left the race shortly after his near-defeat in 1968.
Disgust at this administration, "Mr. Cullen said. "And there are many of us. Is it 10, 20 or 37%? Too soon to tell you.