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Brief 2024 Republican Hopeful Will Hurd Discusses Trump’s Reelection Chances at IOP

The Harvard Institute of Politics hosted Will Hurd, a 2024 presidential candidate, and Dan Balz, chief correspondent at the Washington Post, in a discussion Tuesday evening about the upcoming presidential election.
The Harvard Institute of Politics hosted Will Hurd, a 2024 presidential candidate, and Dan Balz, chief correspondent at the Washington Post, in a discussion Tuesday evening about the upcoming presidential election. By Matteo L. Cagliero
By William C. Mao and Dhruv T. Patel, Crimson Staff Writers

Former U.S. Representative William Hurd, who briefly ran for the 2024 Republican nomination last year, discussed former President Donald Trump’s chances of reelection in the 2024 presidential race at a Harvard Institute of Politics forum on Tuesday.

The panel, moderated by award-winning journalist and IOP Resident Fellow Alison King, featured Hurd and Washington Post chief correspondent Dan Balz.

Hurd — who ran a brief campaign criticizing Trump before dropping out in October 2023 — said that a victory over Trump would have to come in the primary elections.

“The best way to deal with Donal Trump is to beat him in the primary,” he said.

Hurd urged the audience to rally for voter turnout in the primary elections, noting that only 25 percent of eligible American voters participated in the primaries during the last presidential election in 2020.

“We have roughly 14 days to maybe change people’s minds,” he said.

“If you know anybody that lives in one of those 20 states that are going to vote between now and March 5, make sure that they’re getting out there to vote,” he added.

Balz said he is doubtful of former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s chances to overcome her early losses to Trump in the first four Republican primaries. Haley, also the former governor of South Carolina, is Trump’s only remaining competitor for the Republican presidential nomination.

“There’s nothing that has happened since New Hampshire in South Carolina that has suggested that she’s made real progress,” Balz said. “She’s not just an underdog but a distinct underdog,” Balz said.

But Hurd — who endorsed Haley after suspending his campaign — said only 2.8 percent of eligible voters have cast their ballots in the primaries and that “none of us should accept” Trump’s selection as the Republican nominee as inevitable.

“This notion that, ‘Oh, this is over’ — to me, I just can’t accept that,” Hurd said.

“Donald Trump is running for president not to make America great again,” he added. “He’s running for president to stay out of prison.”

Balz said that for third-party candidates, “so much depends on the quality and credibility.”

“For a third-party candidate, they have to have some spark, they have to have some element of charisma or celebrity or prominence to get people to think about them,” he said.

The forum comes as Harvard students’ attention shifts to the 2024 elections. Earlier this semester, the IOP reported record membership numbers for the spring term.

Returning to the issue of voter participation, Hurd said the “hard work” of boosting turnout is critical to ensure “this little experiment we call America continues to exist.”

“We’re not fighting on the fields of Gettysburg, or marching on the streets of Selma, or fighting in hand to hand combat in a place like Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan,” Hurd said.

“All it requires of us is to exercise a vote that many of us and our forebearers have fought hard to have,” he added.

—Staff writer William C. Mao can be reached at william.mao@thecrimson.com. Follow him on X @williamcmao.

—Staff writer Dhruv T. Patel can be reached at dhruv.patel@thecrimson.com. Follow him on X @dhruvtkpatel.

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