With lawsuit, Bill Weld proves he’s as quirky as ever

Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff/File

Former governor Bill Weld dropped by to make a donation as Governor Charlie Baker rang the Salvation Army bell in Downtown Crossing in December 2016.

By Globe Staff 

William Floyd Weld, the former Republican governor, is as quirky in his older age as he was when he governed the state.

Just take the lawsuit he and two others filed last week against his protege, Governor Charlie Baker, seeking to overturn the Massachusetts winner-take-all system governing the Electoral College vote for presidential elections.


First of all, the 72-year-old former governor claims in the suit that he has “consistently” voted for the Republican, Libertarian, or other non-Democratic candidate for president.

Well, not quite. He appeared in Concord, N.H., in October 2008 and endorsed Barack Obama over the Republican presidential nominee, John McCain.

Then in 2016, much to the suspicion of hardcore party members, Weld announced he was bolting from the Republican Party to become a Libertarian.

He then went before their convention and vowed his fealty to the party. He barely won a spot as the party’s vice-presidential candidate but left a lot of suspicion over his sincerity among the delegates. “Free at last, free at last,’’ he told the crowd of his break with the GOP.

But when that campaign was falling apart (remember his running mate, Gary Johnson, asked on live national television, “What is Aleppo?” when asked about the ravaged Syrian city), Weld pretty much bailed.


By two weeks before the 2016 election, the Johnson/Weld ticket sunk into single digits in the polls — a fact they both acknowledged pretty much ended their campaign.

It was then that Weld held a thumping Boston press conference where he thoroughly denounced Donald Trump and urged voters to reject his candidacy — but, in his whimsical style, refused to admit he was in effect endorsing Hillary Clinton.

And then last year, he headed up a major Massachusetts Republican fund-raiser, even saying he planned to support GOP Baker for reelection.

Now, as flippant with his language as ever, he traded in “consistent” with “usually.” He says he voted Republican or Libertarian in nine of the last 10 presidential elections.

“You can interpret the word consistently to mean usually, and nine of out 10 is pretty consistent,’’ Weld said in a voice mail message to a reporter who has chronicled his idiosyncrasies for decades. “Anyway, have a ball as usual,” he added in his “usual” good humor.

Frank Phillips can be reached at