Trump’s GOP rivals are taking him by surprise

Trump's GOP rivals are taking him by surprise

Trump’s growing GOP challengers revive fears of 2016 repeat

Updated 4:30 am EST, Wednesday, January 11, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump’s rising GOP challengers are taking him by surprise, with their attacks sparking fears of a 2016 repeat — and even of a new race.

They have revived fears of the sort of chaos that plagued Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012, including the selection of a primary challenger against Trump for the moment, and a potential split-screen on Election Day that could hand the White House to a more moderate Republican.

“If they win this race, there could be another Republican primary in 2020 against Donald Trump of the establishment,” said Michael Fumento, who worked for Romney when he ran for president as 2008 Republican Mitt Romney.

Trump’s running mates of choice, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have been in the national spotlight over the past week. And the two men were largely absent at a Capitol Hill briefing Monday with lawmakers to discuss the upcoming midterm elections.

“I think there is a lot of anxiety, but I think the best case scenario is to see somebody who is a little more centrist who is not Donald Trump,” said Fumento. “We’ll see what happens.”

The challenges of Trump’s opponents are not just in national politics but also in the House and Senate races that could determine the balance of power for years to come.

In a year that has seen the GOP’s fortunes rise and fall, one of the most significant challenges for Trump — who would have a tougher time finding the votes to claim the presidency in a two-man race with Democrat Hillary Clinton — is that his rivals have spent much of the year fighting against him.

“It is not a typical Republican primary — it is a Trump primary,” said Bill Bishop, a veteran of three Republican presidential campaigns. “And it is likely to be a challenge for the Republicans. That’s why

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